Cops Send Special Needs Students a Pumpkin Patch After Theirs Was Destroyed by Vandals

Special needs students at a California elementary school had been tending to a garden for weeks, until vandals broke in and destroyed the garden.

Special needs students were given the Halloween treat of their lives when the local sheriff's department brought a new pumpkin patch to their school, after theirs was destroyed by vandals.

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Principal Jonathan Kaplan of the Robinson Ranch Elementary School in California told a teacher planted a pumpkin patch at their school early in the summer, hoping it would grow by the time October rolled around.

Since the school year started, Kaplan said the special needs class has been enjoying tending to and studying their pumpkins as an addition to their science and biology curriculum.

But last month, the school was devastated to find that two vandals had broken into the garden, and destroyed the pumpkin patch.

"The scene was dirt and broken pumpkins everywhere," Kaplan told "They had a bat. One kid smashed them all. They ripped up the plants and threw it over the fence."

School resource officer Deputy Calvin Silva spoke to school faculty and gathered surveillance footage that clearly identified the two juvenile suspects, but upon relaying the information to other colleagues, the Orange County Sheriff's Department came up with an idea of their own.

"[Silva] collected personal funds, and [officers] pooled their money together and bought 30 pumpkins for the kids," Carrie Braun from the Orange County Sheriff's Department said.

They also brought hay bales, scarecrows, and other Halloween decorations, and coordinated with the school to set up a pumpkin patch in their multipurpose room, all to surprise the 22 special needs students at the school.

"When they saw the pumpkins, they were ecstatic," Kaplan said.

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Wearing plastic sheriff's hats, students were able to pick out a pumpkin to take home. They were also invited to meet the K9 dog, sit in a patrol car and get to know their local deputies.

"We're teaching that even though bad things happen, that good things can come out of it," said Cynthia Shaffer, a teacher for special needs students told KCAL.

The vandalism is still under investigation, authorities said.

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