School guardians

Central Leader - - LETTERS -

I read your lead story ( Cen­tral Leader, Fe­bru­ary 12) head­lined School fights bur­glars, with grow­ing anger.

As a for­mer teacher, I know how dev­as­tat­ing it can be to have bur­glars, van­dals and ar­son­ists at­tack our schools.

My heart went out to Te Pa­papa School prin­ci­pal Robyn Curry and the stu­dents.

I re­alise there is no easy so­lu­tion to these prob­lems in our so­ci­ety, but surely we can do bet­ter than ask­ing neigh­bours ‘‘to keep an eye out for any­thing sus­pi­cious’’, as sug­gested by Sergeant McEn­tee.

Hav­ing said that, I ac­knowl­edge that a ma­jor part of the prob­lem is that the thieves and van­dals do their nasty work with im­punity, un­der cover of dark­ness, dur­ing the weekend and dur­ing school hol­i­days, know­ing there is noone on site.

So, here is the point: given the huge in­vest­ment in property and ed­u­ca­tional ma­te­ri­als, IT hard­ware, etc, in our 21st century schools, isn’t it time we se­ri­ously con­sid­ered hav­ing a live-in night care­taker on site?

I am sure that schools could find a cre­ative so­lu­tion, such as a trade-off be­tween wages and free liv­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion.

Al­ter­na­tively, if a cou­ple were on-site care­tak­ers, one could be paid to be a teacheraid dur­ing the day. As for the ac­com­mo­da­tion, what about con­vert­ing a pre-fab class­room into a one-bed­room flat?

Some schools have va­cant den­tal nurse premises that could eas­ily be con­verted.

There could also be sav­ings in dis­pens­ing with se­cu­rity firms vis­its, not to men­tion po­lice call­outs.

Given the cost of hous­ing in Auck­land and high un­em­ploy­ment I reckon a school like Te Pa­papa would be inun­dated with ap­pli­cants for the job.

Sig­nage clearly warn­ing tres­passers that a night care­taker was on duty (with a large vi­cious look­ing dog) might make the an­ti­so­cial el­e­ment in our so­ci­ety think twice about leav­ing an­other trail of de­struc­tion in our schools.

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