Claxton school loses donated ‘beautification’ supplies to thieves

With the start of the 2018-2019 school year less than two weeks away, one Anderson County School received what could be described as a punch in the gut. Claxton Elementary School staff had worked with Home Depot on Schaad Road in Knoxville to implement a school beautification plan.

“The Beautification Project was all about making sure our students had a school campus they could be proud of,” wrote Claxton Elementary Principal Jennifer Coleman in a Facebook post.

Early Friday morning, July 19, donated materials including landscape timbers, mulch, and gravel, were stolen from the Claxton Elementary campus.

Home Depot donated “time and energy” towards the campus beautification project, plus “a large amount of landscaping material,” according to Coleman. School officials, however, will not be deterred.

“This is a setback, but as a community we will come together to make our campus beautiful despite this wrongful act,” wrote Coleman.

The school does have surveillance cameras, and that footage has been turned over to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office. Anderson County Schools spokesperson Ryan Sutton said that security footage shows the individuals stealing the materials, and that the thieves visited the site earlier in the evening to scout. They later returned early Friday morning from 2:30 a.m. – 5 a.m. to load the materials.

“Local Home Depots have been contacted to be on the lookout for a large return of products,” said Sutton.