Students painted phallic symbol on Lexington teacher's car. District wouldn't pay for cleanup




 

When student vandals on campus spray painted Henry Clay High School teacher Robbie Biddle's car with graffiti and a phallic symbol last week, he was dismayed that school district officials would not help pay for the cleanup.

The vandalism and the district's decision not to pay for staff's personal property damage was the focus of an article in the Devils' Advocate, the Lexington high school's online student publication posted on Tuesday.

"My car was spray painted during the school day by two students. I talked to different people at the district level about trying to get their help," Biddle told the Herald-Leader.

"I did not feel like I should have to pay for it out of my pocket," Biddle said. "I was told that employee personal property was not covered by the district in these situations. "

Biddle said district officials also told him they were sympathetic to his situation but that the cleanup was not something school funds or taxpayers' dollars can be used for.

"We are investigating the incident and will take appropriate action," Fayette County Public Schools spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall said Thursday.

Biddle said he hopes policy changes will be made to prevent this issue going forward.

"I realized that the policy now is that the district doesn't cover something like this but I would like them to change that in the future so this doesn't happen to other employees of FCPS for just trying to go to work and do their jobs," Biddle said in a Herald-Leader interview.

He told the student publication that it was awkward and uncomfortable to drive the vehicle with the phallic symbol visible. The damage was on the right front passenger door.

Biddle said he drives his children - ages 7 and 11 - to soccer practice and to school in the car. Biddle said he was concerned about trying to clean the car himself while insurance payments were pending.

"I hate that they had to get off the bus and then see that our car had been vandalized," Biddle told the Herald-Leader.

"This situation has caused us a lot of stress. We didn't really have any choice but to drive it around until we could get it fixed," he said.

Biddle's fellow teacher Jeni Bolander wrote about the incident on social media and said many people offered support and help.

Biddle said "Daryl Lyons at Detail Lex generously offered" to clean the car free of charge.

"He really stepped up even though he didn't have to," Biddle said.

Lyons said Thursday afternoon that "the main reason I did it was it was the right thing to do."

"Seeing Mr. Biddle so aggravated and upset over a senseless act was heart wrenching to see," said Lyons. "It wasn't about him paying or anything else it was just stepping up and taking care of someone in need. If you put the community first, the community will take care of you."

Biddle said he could not provide details on actions taken in regard to the vandals.

"I can't speak to specifics of their discipline but can say the (administrative) team at Henry Clay did a great job figuring out who did it," Biddle said.

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