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PCSD Property Vandalized, Sheriff Awaits Report

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The Park Record reported that a rock was thrown at a window of the Park City School District superintendent’s home in Jeremy Ranch on Thursday, October 31. The home was purchased by the district last year to provide housing within school boundaries for the superintendent, who was hired last year. The incident has not been reported to law enforcement and no investigation has been done.

Park City Board of Education President Andrew Caplan told KPCW the board is disappointed and embarrassed about the incident. He thinks it shows how issues and grievances aired on social media can get out of hand.

“I think it’s an opportunity for all of us to do some self- reflection and look at ourselves as a community and say okay, who do we want to be? Do we want to be kind to our neighbors? Do we want to be angry or harassing every time there is something we don’t agree with on social media? You know, how do we want to behave?”

Caplan is unsure of the details of how the incident occurred. He says when the district purchased the home, it planned for the improvements which include re-grading the driveway and shoring up retaining walls. Coils are being installed in the driveway to provide heating, but the superintendent would be responsible to pay any utilities related to living in the home. He says they budgeted $200,000 for repairs and have spent $67,000 so far.

“It was definitely vandalism. How it was done, whether it was kicked in, or broken or a rock was thrown through, I’m not really sure but what we do know is the house was vandalized and a window was broken. It coincided with a lot of comment on the Nextdoor app or platform about work that was being done on the superintendent’s house.”

The district spokesperson told KPCW the superintendent has been personally harassed by neighbors and through social media posts, and she said the vandalism was a deliberate act. However, the incident has not been officially reported to the Summit County Sheriff’s office.

Summit County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Andrew Wright says it’s frustrating that the information released by the school district to the Park Record Monday hasn’t been reported, so no investigation has been done as of this reporting. He says Park City Superintendent Jill Gildea told Sheriff Justin Martinez in a phone conversation that a rock did not go all the way through the window.

“At minimum, clarify the statement you have made because they’re making some pretty strong statements regarding an intentional act. You know, without an official police investigation, I don’t know how you can, or any evidence to show, I don’t know how you can make such a bold statement.”

Wright is baffled why the school district would not report the incident because it involves school district property. It was last Thursday when the sheriff’s office first received an email from Gildea requesting deputies come to her residence because a Salt Lake television crew was outside the home reporting on the driveway project underway. Wright says they can’t take part in intimidating media, so they were unable to respond to the request.

“And I think our community deserves to have a clear answer of what exactly took place. But yet, they haven’t asked for an investigation or for an official report to be filed. So, there are a lot of variables to this that are very perplexing to say the least. It’s confusing. We have requested multiple times now, the sheriff and myself have requested the school district to file a report so we can properly investigate this.”  

Caplan says the TV news team that was outside the home last week caused the Gildea family to feel uncomfortable. He says negative comments and vitriol on social media, along with neighbors complaining, made it an intimidating situation.

Caplan is uncertain why the report has not yet been filed with the Sheriff’s office.

“I think there will be one filed. It happened at the end of last week. The superintendent went to a conference over the weekend and has been out of town.  And I think has been in touch with the Sheriff’s office and hadn’t filed an official police report. I expect here will be one filed today.”

Caplan says things escalated because of social media comments, but no one reached out to the school board or administration to register concerns about the driveway project.

“What is it that you’re doing? How much does this cost? What’s going on here? They decided to just start complaining on social media, making statements, assuming certain things and that’s where we got in trouble.”

Caplan says this is an opportunity for the community to grow. He urges people with disagreements to learn the facts, ask questions, treat each other with courtesy and respect and to assume good intent.
 

KPCW reporter Carolyn Murray covers Summit and Wasatch County School Districts. She also reports on wildlife and environmental stories, along with breaking news. Carolyn has been in town since the mid ‘80s and raised two daughters in Park City.
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