The Unsettling Disappearance of the “We Love ‘R’ Seniors and Staff” Signs: A Formal Investigation

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Photo from RTSD Instagram

Sarah Tachau

It was the eerie morning of March 22nd, at approximately 8:15 am when disaster struck.  Anxious Radnor students and teachers were driving to school for their first day of full in-person school this year, or their third first day of school, when they found a number of their beloved “We love R seniors and staff” signs to be missing. Shocked by this discovery, the Radnor community erupted in chaos and quickly responded with proportional protests. Car horns blared in anger, students refused to attend class out of utter shock, and in the distance, there was the sound of sirens and rioting flooding the streets of Wayne.

The motivational lawn signs once lined the street of North Radnor Chester Road, with a count of 250 signs for the half-mile stretch, and were accompanied by a massive banner listing the names, addresses, and, in a tiny font, social security numbers, of the senior class. When the signs were first put up, administrators and members of the School Board gave themselves a pat on the back for “putting an end to upset seniors and staff who had fought all year for normalcy.” A student in the class of 2021 recalled the first time she drove by the banner, “I took my eyes off the road to search for my name and rear-ended the car in front of me. The good news is I did find my name and I felt greatly honored.” 

Proposed Theories: The Cause of Yard Sign Robberies

So what happened to the signs? How did they disappear, and more importantly, why? To break down the mystery of the missing signs, the Radish interviewed Radnor police and investigators, who formed a series of hypotheses, including, but not limited to: the signs blew away in a strong gust of wind, the track team stole them and ran away like they always do, students and staff retaliated after LM week was canceled, and the signs were grinded up and mixed into the school lunch hamburgers.

Theory #1: Track Team Suspects

After examining the balmy weather reports for the last two weeks of March, the first claim was quickly ruled out. The next step was to interrogate the track team, who were experts at dodging confrontation. When asked simply, “Who stole the signs?” a number of runners avoided eye contact, and one burst into tears and sobbed, “We’ve all been jumping over hurdles to chase normalcy this school year. Who would be so heartless as to steal the keystone of the Radnor community?” Nonetheless, the accounts of the track team were deemed unreliable, so an undercover investigator took part in a number of after-school practices. His experiences were reported as follows: “To no one’s surprise, I witnessed runners yanking the signs from the ground, one per lap. Unfortunately, they were too speedy, and whenever I tried to chase them they just ran away.” However, reports of signs stolen in track practice are nowhere near close to the total number of signs missing, leading Radnor police to believe there was another sneaky bandit behind the act. 

Theory #2: Retaliation Due to Cancelled LM Week

Begrudgingly, the Radnor administration was forced to consider the one hypothesis they dreaded confronting: that the seniors and staff stole signs to cope with the cancellation of LM week. Initially, to resolve this situation, the school board quickly created LM week 2.0, aka “Radnapalooza!” to which they gave themselves a second pat on the back for “going above and beyond to restore normalcy and end parent complaints.” “Radnapalooza!” was an ideal resolution to student anger and retaliation until a week after it was announced, when Radnor suffered another surge of yard sign robbing. An upset student commented on the phenomenon “No matter how many strobe lights, fog machines, or Cameos from famous actors they add, ‘Radnapalooza!’ will never compare to LM week.” A senior echoed this concern, “I can speak for all of my peers when I say this change of plans ruined my high school experience and the only thing that can fix it is to steal some of those cool ‘We love ‘R’ Seniors and Staff Yard Signs.” 

Before students could organize a walkout in protest of their first world problem, the school board interfered and urgently called off ‘Radnapalooza!’. In a message to the Radnor community, an administrator stated that the event was causing ‘too much stress’ for the students and staff, directly referring to the increase in yard sign stealing.

Moving Forward: Yard Sign Robbery Prevention 

Analyzing the number of signs stolen by the track team and angry students, the Radnor police concluded their investigation, initiating a school board meeting to discuss what course would be best to take. Evidently, the “We Love ‘R’ Seniors and Staff” signs could not be stuck in the grass, as the flimsy nature of this approach allowed for a quick swipe and steal. Thus, the board and administration decided on the next best option: barb wire the signs to the fence along North Radnor Chester Road. As an administrator explained, “This tactic may seem a bit harsh, but hear me out: when one student makes the mistake of trying to steal another yard sign, they, along with their peers will learn a lesson. Think of it like taking one for the team.” In regards to the banner celebrating the class of 2021, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation forced Radnor to remove it after a record-breaking number of car accidents outside of the school. Statistics demonstrated an 89% increase in rear-ending accidents, as well as a 234% increase in students driving miles below the speed limit to search for their name.

The Radnor administration published a formal statement last week, acknowledging the horrific sign-stealing trend: “While our community truly does love a good yard sign or two to cope with unprecedented circumstances, the Radnor Township School District does not encourage lying, cheating, or stealing. Everyone loves to look at the 350 total ‘We Love ‘R’ Seniors and Staff’ signs across campus. So to keep school spirit up, we ask kindly that students refrain from being selfish pigs and leave the signs be.”