A Berks County technical school will soon bid farewell to a beloved sports car.
"It's kind of heart wrenching," said Lewis Davis, a former automotive instructor at the Berks Career and Technology Center.
Almost 14 years ago, Davis was instrumental in bringing the school a 1997 Dodge Viper GPS, donated by Chrysler. Ever since, it's served as a key showpiece for the school, and a tool for student learning.
But now, Chrysler wants the car crushed, along with over 90 others in schools across the nation.
"They want it back and they want it destroyed," said Adam Hollinger, an automotive technology instructor at BCTC. "It doesn't really make much sense to me."
According to Chrysler, the vehicles are too outdated for present-day school instruction, explained in the following company statement: "with advancements in automotive technology over the past decade, it is unlikely that these vehicles offer any educational value to students."
But BCTC instructors beg to differ.
"I really has a lot of very good qualities… for use of instructional value," said Hollinger. "It's current for use in instruction and it will be a classic one day."
Thousands elsewhere agree, as presented in an online petition titled "Operation Save the Vipers."
Started by a student in Olympia, Wash., the petition has nearly reached its goal of 9,000 signatures. As of Friday evening, over 8,600 had signed.
Meanwhile, BCTC officials are hoping Chrysler reconsiders.
"It's kind of an icon here at the school," said Hollinger.
"It's been a prized possession of this school," said Davis. "It's just a great piece for the school and to have it destroyed, it really hurts. Isn't there a possible way we could do something else with it?"