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.