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Las Vegas school’s PE teacher calls classroom break-in ‘devastating’

A Clark County School District physical education teacher has turned to GoFundMe to replace the value of thousands of dollars worth of equipment stolen from her classroom over the weekend.

Stephanie Graville, PE teacher at Ronnow Elementary School, said a janitor discovered the break-in this week. Much of the equipment that Graville herself had bought — a stereo, brand-new uniforms, pool noodles, balls and jump ropes — was gone.

“It was just very devastating,” Graville said.

Also stolen were sentimental items like several valuable jerseys, she said, that had been donated to create a welcoming environment in her portable classroom in the northeast Las Vegas school.

“I had mostly relied on donations and fundraisers for these kids who already don’t have anything,” she said.

Though the fundraiser seeks $2,000, Graville said the total loss is likely around $4,000. Individual PE equipment will be important when students return to classrooms in order to follow social distancing guidelines, the fundraiser adds.

Graville said it appears that the person or people who stole the items might have made several trips in and out of the classroom before being scared off, leaving behind a few bagged-up items and a cardboard sign that says: “Please make a purchase. I’m trying to raise money to help mom pay bills.”

She said that while it doesn’t excuse what happened, she felt for the individuals, too, who also apparently opened and ate cans of nacho cheese and jalapenos left over from Graville’s after-school snack bar. The cardboard sign made her wonder if someone was planning to sell the stolen items.

Prior to school closures caused by COVID-19, Graville taught all 800 elementary students at the school on a rotating schedule and ran fitness and running clubs for the kids, all on a shoestring budget.

She praised Ronnow Principal Michelee Quiroz Cruz-Crawford for finding the funding for PE equipment like basketballs, but added that on the whole, district PE teachers did not receive the funding they needed for their programs.

Cruz-Crawford said Graville is the type of teacher to dedicate much of her time and money to creating a warm environment for her students. Before she was a PE teacher, Graville taught second grade, Cruz-Crawford said, and went all-out for every holiday.

“She throws a phenomenal field day, marathon, basketball camp, flag football,” Cruz-Crawford said. “I can’t even keep up with her.”

Graville said anyone wishing to donate may do so through GoFundMe, or reach her directly to arrange a donation through the school at gravism@nv.ccsd.net.

Contact Aleksandra Appleton at 702-383-0218 or aappleton@reviewjournal.com. Follow @aleksappleton on Twitter.

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