Jacksonville school for children with autism damaged after break-in

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A school for children with autism suffered thousands of dollars in damage after it was broken into Wednesday night.  

The owner of Growing Together Behavioral Center, Melissa Kramer, said there is roughly $20,000 in damage. 

“It’s sad. It’s heartbreaking. It’s confusing, it was just very unbelievable honestly,” said Kramer.  “You know you make it through opening, you make it through COVID and you haven’t gotten anybody sick and all these things and you’re like OK, we’re doing great, we’re doing this and then have this random person tear through your building.”

On Friday, Kramer and her employees spent the day sweeping up glass and cleaning up the school. She said the school was ransacked, several windows were broken and electronics were smashed. 

"Even when I pulled up, I could see some of our things were out in the street, some of our things they told me were down by the dumpster," explained Kramer. "Things had just been torn apart recklessly. Printers were smashed out in the street, iPads were smashed out in the street."

Kramer opened the school nearly two years ago to meet the needs of her son and other children with autism and developmental disabilities. She said her goal is to re-open on Aug. 10. 

To help the school cover the cost for some of the damage and replace some of its electronics, a parent set up a GoFundMe page. 

According to Kramer, there has been an arrest in the case. 

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