NEW ORLEANS – On Wednesday, school officials announced that a weekend break-in at James Singleton Charter School resulted in the theft of more than $116,000 in band equipment.
“When our staff arrived at the building on Monday, they noticed that someone had gained access to the building by kicking in a side window and climbing through,” said Douglas Evans, President and CEO of Dryades YMCA. “After doing an assessment, we discovered that they took what amounts to 56 instruments that include the keyboards, guitars, all of the brass instruments, including trumpets, trombones, French horns, baritones, and saxophones.”
James Singleton Charter School has long touted its music program and arts education as one of the many benefits of attending the middle school located in the heart of Central City. Annually, students march in Mardi Gras festivities, along with countless other programs that showcase the students’ musical talents and dance skills.
School officials have filed an official police report with the New Orleans Police Department, but they don’t hold out much hope that they will be able to recover the stolen instruments. In fact, school officials say this is the fourth break in past two months. Previous break-ins included the theft of air condition units, iPads, kindles, laptops, laminating machines, and other equipment needed for students and teachers.
“We are truly disappointed that someone has targeted the school in this way,” Evans said. “Like every other public school, we are facing decreased funds because of COVID-19 and have to find a way to educate students and ensure they are as safe as possible for the upcoming school year. Thefts such as these increase the financial strain on the school, but we know that we must find a way to replace those marching band instruments.”
Officials say they welcome all donations from the community. Donations can be dropped off to the school at 2220 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. Donations will be accepted Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to noon.