Update: Live Oak High tagged with Sobrato 'S' and Bulldog pawprints - Morgan Hill Times: Education

Update: Live Oak High tagged with Sobrato 'S' and Bulldog pawprints

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Posted: Friday, September 14, 2012 11:45 am

Superintendent Wes Smith with the Morgan Hill Unified School District is calling recent vandalism at Live Oak High School a "cross-town rivalry prank that went a little bit too far."

Smith doesn't want to blow the issue out of proportion, however. He prefers to call Thursday's tagging an example of "destructive school spirit."

"We're not making it out to be more than anything what it is," the superintendent reiterated. "I'm not suggesting there's this really serious issue between students at Sobrato and Live Oak."

While Smith cannot confirm if the few leads in the case point to student suspects, the content and timeliness of the vandalism correlate with a Sobrato versus Live Oak football game at 7 p.m. tonight. The teams both enter 2-0 on the season for the sixth year of the highly anticipated El Toro Bowl rivalry game between the only two public high schools in Morgan Hill.

Live Oak holds the winning record for the El Toro Bowl of 4-1. Last year Sobrato won, but was forced to forfeit the win later in the season.

On Thursday morning, the Live Oak High School community walked into their campus to see the Sobrato High School's Bulldog pawprint logo and big red S's covering sidewalks, trees, Acorn decals and sides of buildings in red paint.

The vandalism was still on campus Thursday morning, but other incidents had been cleaned up, according to several callers who wished to remain anonymous. Smith said the tagging was mostly concentrated in the quad area and has been eradicated as of Friday.

Smith said he does not know what time the vandalism occurred; only that it was discovered early Thursday morning by campus maintenance staff.

A police report has been filed and the school is conducting an investigation into the incident, for which there are leads, Smith confirmed. 

Smith said he isn't expecting anymore vandalism to occur prior to tonight's game. There will be police officers staffed at the El Toro Bowl, but that has nothing to do with Thursday's incident, Smith said.

"When you get thousands of community members in one location, it's a good idea to have law enforcement there," he reasoned. "But I don't beleive the nature of the El Toro Bowl requires we have more law enforcement there than usual."

When a city has two cross-town rivals that are impassioned about their sports programs, Smith alluded that pranks are a typical byproduct that should not be condoned. It's not necessarily cause for overreaction, either.

During a recent college tour with his daughter, Smith noted campus officials taking heightened precautions to protect USC's bronze Tommy Trojan statue – the target of UCLA hooliganism during football season – by wrapping the icon in layers of duct tape.

"It shows us that we shouldn't overreact," Smith said. "We just need to be diligent that we're putting the message out there – that pride in your team and school is fine; just don't let that pride be destructive."

There have been no retaliation attempts on Live Oak's end, Smith said. 

"I'm always concerned when I see any type of vandalism," he added. "It's disheartening for me that people want to destroy something in an attempt to celebrate something else...I just hope students and their parents enjoy this crosstown rivalry appropriately, and I expect that they will."

Police have not returned phone calls on the incident.

If you know anything about the vandalism, please contact the Times at 847-7037.

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  • chapys posted at 5:37 am on Tue, Sep 18, 2012.

    chapys Posts: 4

    Following this incident iwas the vandalism of Live Oak cars after the Sadie Hawkins dance Saturday night. Students cars windows were bashed in.

    The Superintendant needs to get a better handle on this situation. I teach in Santa Clara where we have had a cross team rival for many decades. There is an imbalance in numbers between the two schools, attendance boundaries need to be established and adhered to.

    It seems Sobrato has a hire turnover rate in the coaching staff. How much experience does the Athletic Directoe have? How many on campus coaches are there? How many new coaches this year? This is about poor Administration.

  • bluewillow posted at 2:47 pm on Mon, Sep 17, 2012.

    bluewillow Posts: 2

    ok to comment on what sushi03 said If the players are recieving threats " TEXT " threats then that is really dumb on who ever sent the threats they can be traced . so then report it and print out the text and give it to the police and let them handle it .

    And to comment to " common sense " : Live Oak field is not Sobrato ' s field We loan it to them to use respectfully as we would use there school if needed . And not trash it as they did ours . HELLO didnt you see the mess that was left behind . I did ... how sad it was to see parent / adults just dropping there garbage on the ground when there is a trash can just steps away . Ok we share the school field then they should share the clean up of the mess .

  • sushi03 posted at 9:09 am on Mon, Sep 17, 2012.

    sushi03 Posts: 1

    I concurr with the coments that it is not a very "classy" form of cross town rivalry. However, the text threats that the Sobrato football team members were receiving should be published. The parents did report these to the police.

  • CommonSense posted at 8:44 am on Mon, Sep 17, 2012.

    CommonSense Posts: 1

    This was a really terrible and disrespectful incident but please don't blame the entire school for this. Sobrato as a whole didn't decide to do this as a school activity, so it wasn't "Sobrato" that did this, but rather a group of ill-behaved supporters of Sobrato. As to the complaints that Sobrato should have its own field and that Live Oak shouldn't be visitors, this also is out of Sobrato's hands. Sobrato High is on the land that was generously donated by Ms. Ann Sobrato upon her death. Unfortunately, this land is subject to the laws of San Jose, who, as much as we petition, refuse to let us light up our field. Since we are not able to use the field on our campus, we use the field on the Live Oak campus. While the field is on the Live Oak campus, it is not Live Oak's field. It belongs to both Sobrato and Live Oak, so we have just as much right to be on the home side as Live Oak. And in regards to the rivalry, it takes two to have a rivalry. There have been some ill-behaved students at Live Oak too. Finally, Sobrato has been around for 8 years and deserves as much respect as a high school as Live Oak does. There is still a bias in the town towards Live Oak, which is understandably due to the fact that practically everyone is this town graduated from Live Oak, but please give some respect to Sobrato too. After all, it wasn't the *school* that did this. It was a handful of disrespectful teenagers.

  • bluewillow posted at 10:24 pm on Sun, Sep 16, 2012.

    bluewillow Posts: 2

    You know saying that the players are going to do sometime to the other player are one thing . But save it all for the field . Dont damage the school that we all use ... but think about it ...its not the football players that have to CLEAN UP ALL the mess it is the others who work for the school that have to do it . NOW WHO IS IT HURTING really think about it . Things like this are only going to hurt the school and we will end up not having the EL Toro bowl anymore . But the mess that was left on the Sobrato side of the field was a really terible . there were bottles trash and of all things toliet paper and really phone book pages all over that side ofr the bleachers . what is really sad is that all those boys and familys all know each other they are probably neighbors , they boys most likely went to scholl with each other since grade school . and now this ...it wrong rewally wrong . this town came together when a young girl went missing ,.. and now for a football game they do all of this mess . REALLY SAD : ( ITS JUST A GAME

  • morganhillmom posted at 4:55 pm on Sun, Sep 16, 2012.

    morganhillmom Posts: 35

    And Morgan Hill was so eager to have two high schools and cross-town rivals in town....

  • bulldogforlife posted at 5:28 pm on Sat, Sep 15, 2012.

    bulldogforlife Posts: 1

    While this type of "tagging" or "vandalism" shouldn't have taken place and isn't a classy form of school pride, it is relatively harmless compared to the preceding threats from a few LO players who verbalized and messaged that they were going to "break the legs of the Sobrato quarterback and running backs" among others. I would most definitely rather see someone have to clean up some spray paint than see any teenage kid injured purposefully because of some stupid cross-town rivalry. Both sides need to gain some perspective but LO is not exactly the innocent victim here.

  • Bella1 posted at 3:08 pm on Sat, Sep 15, 2012.

    Bella1 Posts: 6

    Bottom line Sobrato should have their own field since they do not respect Live Oak. I think it's wrong that the Live Oak team has to sit on the visitors side when it''s their home field!! Also this is not the first time Sobrato has vandalized Live Oak and I'm sure it wouldn't be the last!

  • cat posted at 9:25 am on Sat, Sep 15, 2012.

    cat Posts: 10

    Tagging? Why use that word at all?By just using the word "tagging" it down plays the act. It makes the act in question less serious. I think school officials, The Morgan Hill Times and others should only call it exactly what it is.....Vandalism. It is a serious offense. Defacing public property is a punishable crime and should not be taken lightly. If public officials continue to down play this behavior you are essentially telling students that it is only "frowned upon." The response from the superintendent was weak. He should have said." The vandalism that occurred at Live Oak is unacceptable and will not be tolerated." A police report has been filed and the school is conducting an investigation into the incident, for which there are leads." Now that sends a clear, strong and precise message. Why did the Morgan Hill Times not mention the past incidents and what if anything was done about them? If I am not mistaken last year Sobrato students put dog poop in the bleachers before last years game. Live Oak Community needs to band together and start complaining about the lack of strong actions of our school and public officials to these incidents.Also to the lack of investigative reporting into the yearly bad behavior of Sobrato Students. The Morgan Hill Times should do a follow up story on these past incidents and show how by doing "nothing" it only encourages the bad behavior. The more people complain about this the more chance they will get their voices heard. They need to start putting pressure on them and the media.

  • Rudolph23 posted at 8:48 pm on Fri, Sep 14, 2012.

    Rudolph23 Posts: 6

    The paw print is suspicious. It's not an authorized Ann Sobrato logo. The design is reminiscent of street gangs incorporating the "trece" into designs. High schoolers trying to covertly identify with gangs will have these types of patterns shaved into their hair, doodled on their shoes... Even the number of braids they put in their hair. I suppose they may have been the miscreants who tagged up chochrane center on the way across town, right?

  • Calle posted at 4:34 pm on Fri, Sep 14, 2012.

    Calle Posts: 64

    ..and the lucky tax payers get to pay for the clean up!