13-year-old boy charged with vandalizing Regina synagogue

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13-year-old boy charged with vandalizing Regina synagogue

A 13-year-old boy has been charged with mischief and break and enter after the Beth Jacob Synagogue was vandalized this weekend in Regina.

Both the synagogue and Regina Police Service say the damage is not believed to be motived by anti-Semitism. 

"As much as we regret that this has happened and we're quite upset about the damage that was done, we can say that this does not appear to be a hate crime of any kind," said Rabbi Jeremy Parnes.

The Regina Police Service also does not believe this was in any way a hate crime.

Police say they responded to the facility on Sunday after someone reported that there was damage done to the inside of the building. Furniture and other items in the school section were broken when police arrived at the scene.

Given the size of the building several police units responded but once there, police determined that the break-in had occurred on Saturday.

The 13-year-old has been charged with break and enter and mischief over $5,000. The youth's name will not be published in accordance with the Youth Criminal Justice Act. 

Parnes said nothing has been stolen from the synagogue and no significant items were damaged within that part of the building.

"There was no desecration of our sanctuaries or any kind of hate slogans painted or made in the building," he said.

Montessori school cancels classes

The damages caused have resulted in classes at the Montessori school, which is located in the synagogue, to be cancelled Monday.

According to a letter sent home to parents, "the damage to the classrooms is mostly messy (e.g. paint splatter) but is substantial enough that it will require a disaster recovery service to clean the building and classrooms." 

Jeff Vall, chair of the board for Montessori Regina, said while clean-up is taking place they are looking for new locations to potentially hold classes. 

"I've heard of parents offering up spaces at their home if they have availability," said Vall.

Parents were informed of the break-in on Sunday.

"Parents probably are currently scrambling to find alternative arrangements for today [Monday] and staff at Montessori are looking for an alternative location," said Vall.

Local institutions quick to offer spaces

Jennifer Rathwell's two children attend the McTavish Street Montessori location. Rathwell said her boys are at home today but accommodations have been made for later in the week.

"I'm hearing also that a fire extinguisher was discharged over everything," said Rathwell. 

She and other parents heard about the break in, and subsequently cancelled classes, on Sunday. Montessori has programs for pre-kindergarten children to grade six students.

Approximately 100 families have been affected by the school closure.

On Tuesday, the school has been invited to the Field House to have a literal field day, according to Rathwell. She said offers have also been made from Luther High School and the University of Regina.

"So they have a place to be as early as tomorrow," said Rathwell.