Devastated caretaker kept after school to clean up after Wakefield, Quebec vandals


by Trevor Greenway on August 12, 2010

Rob Cossette spent his summer holidays cleaning up after vandals.

The Wakefield Elementary School caretaker was able to enjoy a couple of days vacation from scheduled two-week break, because the damage caused by vandals who broke into the school July 19 put him behind.

“It ruined my holidays,” said Cossette standing outside the school. “I want the kids to realize what they have done and how it affects someone else.”

Most of the damage, estimated at $4,000, has been fixed and cleaned up, but now Cossette is behind in his normal routine of getting the school ready for classes that begin this month. He is not happy.

Wakefield Elementary School Caretaker Rob Cossette is angry that vandals ruined his holidays

Wakefield Elementary School Caretaker Rob Cossette is angry that vandals ruined his holidays

Five teens have been arrested in connection with the break-in, and MRC des Collines Spokesperson Martin Fournel said police will arrested another teeen. Five of the six suspects are from the Wakefield area, the other is from Gatineau. Three of the suspects are 18 years of age, three are 17.

The incident happened on the early morning of July 19, but Fournel wouldn’t describe the resulting damage. Neither would Cossette. Fournel said the teens were partying near the school before the break-in.

Cossette is not only upset that his holidays were ruined, but disappointed in the realization that a few bad seeds have affected the perception of well-behaved teens in the village.

“One person spoils it for everybody,” said Cossette.

“Most of them are a great bunch of kids.”

What floored Cossette most is that one of the vandals is a former Wakefield Elementary student – very disappointing in the light of his having taken care of the school the past 13 years.

Cossette is also “shocked” that there wasn’t more of a community outcry about the break-in and the teens responsible.

“Does nobody care?” he asked, questioning why the Low Down received no letters regarding the issue. “Take a stand. Take care of what you love.”

Now a stressed-out Cossette is scrambling to stay on schedule and losing sleep over the incident. He hopes the vandals will read how their actions affected someone else.

The investigation is still ongoing, Fournel said.