Several Gahanna students, teachers and parents are stepping up after someone stepped over the line.

Several Gahanna students, teachers and parents are stepping up after someone stepped over the line.

Middle School West was one of two Gahanna-Jefferson schools vandalized between May 15 and 17. Since then, middle school students, teachers and parents are working together to replace a memorial tree that was broken during the incident.

"It's tough because there's an emotional connection," MSW principal Brett Harmon said.

On May 17, school officials noticed profane graffiti had been painted on the school building and a memorial tree had been broken. The tree was planted two years ago in honor of both a teacher and a student who had died after battling cancer.

Harmon said after the students saw the tree, his student council approached him and asked to meet with him May 19 and determine a way to replace it.

"It's interesting how much empathy can come out of our children," he said.

Members of the school's PTO also were thinking of ways to raise funds for the tree.

Shirley Benninger, the PTO volunteer coordinator, said the organization is expected to discuss the issue. She said members regularly hold fundraisers for school projects. Two weeks ago, for example, the PTO had a Snow Cone promotion that generated $160.

Benninger said the teachers have estimated the cost of another tree at $110. Another Snow Cone promotion could earn that, she said.

Benninger said because the price of a tree is minimal, the PTO could even send an e-mail notice to parents to see if families would be willing to donate a $1 for the tree. If 110 families were to respond, the tree would be paid for.

"We're all in this together, and we're all trying to help," she said.

Royal Manor Elementary School officials also reported May 17 that profanities had been spray-painted in silver on the school building.

Deputy Police Chief Kenneth Bell said silver spray paint also was reported on cars in the area of the school, on Imperial Drive and Regents Road.

Royal Manor principal Rick Oxley said the vandalism had occurred throughout the neighborhood and that the school was just part of it.

Bell said anyone with information about either event should call police at (614) 342-4240.