FSHS students identified as vandals


Ben Rajewski

Five Free State students have been identified as the people who vandalized the football stadium.

By Kansas Gibler, Lizzy McEntire, Riley Nelson, and

Five senior boys from Free State High School have been identified as the group that vandalized the LHS football field.

Students arrived at school Thursday morning to find a racial slur and penis drawn on the field with shaving cream. Other acts included egging the student section and moving equipment into the bleachers.

In a statement Friday, the school district said school resource officers from both high schools as well as the Lawrence Police Department helped identify the vandals.

“The school has notified the students’ parents and initiated disciplinary action in accordance with Board Policy,” the statement said. “The school also will involve these students in community service and a diversity education program coordinated by the school’s Equity Team.”

The City Showdown kicks off at 7 p.m. tonight at Lawrence High School. Coach Dirk Wedd has taken the actions personally.

“It was no longer a prank when I went out on the field, and I saw the N word, and I saw them calling us a poor school and male genitals in the mouth of my mascot,” said Wedd, an LHS alum. “That’s no longer a prank to me because all three of those situations hit home, whether it’s family, friends or my team, so I took it personally. This is my school.”

Free State has called on its students to wear purple to the game to encourage racial unity. Other students have turned to social media to denounce the acts and show unity.

“I think they meant it as a joke, but it passed the line with the race,” said senior Stephen Garcia, a football player. “We were all friends growing up, and it was a harmless senior prank that was taken to the next level.”

Free State and LHS students are also working together for the first time to live stream coverage of the game. Senior Charles McGraw will be broadcasting for LHS along with Free State student Austin Kastl. Watch the coverage at http://citylinktv.com/channel/free-state-high-school-fstv/.

In addition, The Budget will be live-tweeting from @lhsbudget.

The Free State student newspaper, The Free Press, has also been covering the issue: www.fsfreepressonline.com.

Kate Rettig also contributed to this report.