Vandals butcher local elementary school trees

KINGSTON, Wash. -- The Michalski kids can't believe what's happened to the trees students planted at Richard Gordon Elementary in Kingston.

"It makes me sad. I cry," said 4-year old Zuzanna Michalski, who visited the school with her siblings.

Vandals slipped onto the school's grounds over Christmas break and chopped down 17 maples, leaving only point stumps popping up from the ground.

Principal Rachel Osborn cried when she first witnessed the destruction by her school's portables.

"The level of maliciousness was very shocking. The carnage and the wood chips all over the grass was very, shocking," Osborn said.

She said what hurt most is that the trees were planted as part of a community beautification project. Kids planted the donated trees and parents and teachers helped dig.

Osborn estimates it would cost nearly $5,000 to replace all the maturing trees. The school's PTA is planning to raise funds for new trees and security cameras for the campus.