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Student admits vandalizing Catholic High field

Officials with Catholic High School say the person who spray-painted the school's new artificial turf football field has turned himself in.
Crews clean graffiti from turf (Karoline Wightman)
Crews clean graffiti from turf (Karoline Wightman)
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The juvenile responsible for spray painting Catholic High School's new athletic field turned himself in Wednesday.

A 16-year-old student from another school admitted to defacing the football field. The school noticed the graffiti on the artificial turf Monday morning. It's taken crews three days to remove the spray-paint of an obscene image, and the numbers "24 to 10," the final score of Catholic's loss last Friday to Little Rock Central High School.

Assistant Principal and Wide Receiver Coach, Matt Dempsey, says the graffiti included the name Tribou, which is sacred to the school. "That’s our director and principal, who worked here for more than 50 years, next to a pretty graphic image."

Dempsey says the school is pleased the person who damaged the football field turned himself in, and is taking full responsibility for his actions. "Boys make mistakes and repeat them. Young men make mistakes and learn from them."

Dempsey says the school won't be filing charges against the student since he came forward himself. "Life is full of consequences, and sometimes for teenage boys, it's hard to see those consequences. One of the things we like to do at Catholic High School is teach the boys there are consequences to every action."

The school has a list of consequences to teach the teen who defaced the field a lesson. "We've been specializing in turning young boys into young men, so we know a thing or two about redemption, and what it means to have the opportunity for honesty."

Catholic High 11th grader Tanner Elmore says he and his fellow students are disappointed someone spray painted their field, but they're not holding any grudges. "I don't know what kind of state of mind he was in, but that was very disrespectful."

10th grader Connor Roberts says he's happy justice is served. "I'm glad he came forward. No one should get away with that, especially with what he wrote and drew. It's not right."

Football Coach David Estes says the team is putting this incident behind them and looking forward to the next game. "I think we're just prepared and focused on Cabot. We move on. Central is over, and we'll deal with that. Now we're just thinking about Cabot."

As for the consequences the teen responsible for the graffiti will face, he must make full restitution for repair of the field, do community service in the form of manual labor on campus, and write a 5-page essay about Father Tribou to be graded by the Catholic High English Department. If the boy receives anything below an A, the boy will re-write the essay and include an oral presentation as well.

The student's name and where he goes to school is not being released.
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