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Three Farragut High School students arrested

Tyler Crone
Taxpayers took an estimated $6,000 hit and the Bearden community was left dazed following a nighttime spree of vandalism at Bearden High School.

Faculty and staff at BHS expressed shock and disappointment upon finding their school had been vandalized over the night, a day prior to the annual football matchup between Farragut High School and BHS, when arriving at the school Thursday, Oct. 8.

WATE-TV channel 6 and WVLT-TV channel 8 report police sources confirming three Farragut High School students have been arrested and charged with one count each of felony vandalism.

One of the three, 18-year-old Tyler Crone, is a 6-foot-5, 215-pound senior defensive end on the FHS Admirals football team. Also arrested were Mitch Kleiber, 18, and a 17-year old male.

Dr. John Bartlett, BHS principal, said the damages were confined to the football locker room door, stadium pressbox, concession stands, sponsor signage and several parking lot signs.

Terrye Guthe, BHS football booster club vice president, expressed disgust that the vandals chose to tag the entrance to the school’s Memorial Garden, which commemorates Bearden’s fallen former students — both military and civilian.

Bartlett said, “This is a good rivalry, with outstanding students in both schools as well as two great communities. Many good things have come out of this rivalry such as more than 400,000 pounds of food for second Harvest in the last two years. … It’s a shame that one or two students could alter the perception of two good communities.”

School police said that along with the apparent paint damage, seven empty gallon bleach containers were found but no determination as to where it was used surfaced. It is believed the bleach was used on the football field.

Police also indicated that a receipt attached to an empty spray-paint container from Walmart had provided a lead to the Farragut High School students who were arrested.

Bartlett added, Bearden students have been put on notice that any reprisals or reciprocal actions will be dealt with harshly.

“There [was] additional security at the game [last Friday],” he said.

The memorial garden was built by Scott Lyons as an Eagle Scout project on or about the time student Adam Downing died in a vehicle accident off Northshore Drive.

FHS football head coach Eddie Courtney did not disclose Clone’s name, but said “one guy on our football team was involved in going up to Bearden and doing a lot of extensive damage up there around the campus, not just the stadium.”

Acknowledging “embarrassment” about the incident, Courtney said he was concerned about his football team because of the distraction “of all the news people that came down here today, it was during our practice.

“Because they saw the police here and they saw the boys being taken, cuffed and being put in the car.”

FHS principal Michael Reynolds said, “It’s something we are certainly just tremendously sorry for and embarrassed by. It’s a shame, you’ve got two great schools and two great student bodies, and you have a few individuals that take away from all that.”

Reynolds said he contacted Bartlett Thursday and “apologized for our students’ actions.”

As for the students’ standing at FHS, Reynolds said a “disciplinary hearing” would be held. “Until that hearing is held, the individuals cannot step foot on any Knox County [Schools] property or attend any Knox County [Schools] event, unless they face the penalty of criminal trespassing.”

Reynolds was scheduled to meet with Bartlett and other BHS administrators Friday, along with “Our S-G-A [who] will meet with their Student Government [Associa-tion] and we will make another formal apology, too. To do whatever we can to tell them how truly sorry we are that any of this happened.”

Alan Sloan and Hobe Brunson contributed to this story.


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