The icon of Bradley Central High School was a “little blue” Friday prior to the matchup between BCHS and crosstown rival Cleveland High School’s Blue Raiders.
The black bear that adorns the canopy shelter structure in front of BCHS was vandalized with blue spray paint.
Todd Shoemaker, principal at BCHS, said two CHS students were identified as the alleged culprits and officials with both schools have worked out disciplinary measures.
The unidentified students were not formally charged, according to Shoemaker.
Damage was also done to the sign in front of the school; however, that incident was believed to be unrelated.
“It can be a dangerous situation,” Shoemaker said.
The offenders had to climb on top of the canopy at the school to get to the Bradley bear.
The incident reportedly occurred early Thursday, Oct. 10, prior to the matchup Friday where the Bears lost to the Raiders by just one point.
“This is not the first time vandalism or theft of the Bear has occurred,” Shoemaker said.
In the 1990s, someone took the bear from its perch atop the canopy.
Shoemaker said someone also painted the bear in Florida Gators colors a few years ago.
The juveniles are to pay restitution for cleaning up the bear and a new paint job, as well as being ordered to perform community service for the schools, according to Shoemaker.
Dr. Martin Ringstaff, director of Cleveland City Schools, issued a statement Wednesday.
“Cleveland City Schools does not condone any type of vandalism between any rivalry schools. Rivalry between Cleveland and Bradley is very healthy and that atmosphere was evident. Both schools encourage our students to have great school spirit, but we also ask they temper that spirit with good sportsmanship and respect for each other,” Ringstaff said.
Doug Moore, director of Public Information for Cleveland City Schools, declined to provide the ages or grade levels of the student offenders, and they are not being identified because they were not charged with a crime.