Money ‘down drain’

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By KRIS DANDO

No-one should have to deal with bro­ken bot­tles, kicked in doors and graf­fiti first thing on a Mon­day morn­ing, but that’s pre­cisely what the stu­dents and staff of Maraeroa School are hav­ing to en­dure most weeks.

Van­dal­ism is a huge is­sue for the Can­nons Creek pri­mary.

Last year more than $20,000 was spent re­pair­ing the school and prin­ci­pal Ali Stock­well says they have spent $22,000 ‘‘ and count­ing’’ this year.

She says it looks like a group of young peo­ple are com­ing into the school at the week­end and wreak­ing havoc. All dam­age in­curred is paid for by the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, but that money could be bet­ter spent at the decile one school.

‘‘It’s heart­break­ing stuff and it’s just money down the gur­gler.

‘‘The $40,000 that’s been spent so far could be used for stu­dent achieve­ment and help­ing a heap of kids in dif­fer­ent pro­grammes.’’

Dam­age in­cludes bro­ken or etched win­dows, smashed doors, dam­aged play­ground equip­ment, dented roofs, bro­ken beer bot­tles on con­crete ar­eas and graf­fiti on build­ings.

Ms Stock­well says the school’s cen­tral lo­ca­tion in east­ern Porirua must make it a draw­card for out­door par­ties.

‘‘When I got to school on Mon­day [last week] one big piece of graf­fiti just said ‘kia ora!’ so that was in­ter­est­ing, but it’s nor­mally foul lan­guage you don’t want kids to see.

‘‘One week we had eight panes of glass with etch­ings, a deaf boy’s trans­mit­ter was stolen from one of the rooms and a bench set on fire.

‘‘Our care­taker spends a lot of his time on the phone to a glass com­pany.’’

The school has an in­truder alarm sys­tem, which means there have been rel­a­tively few break-ins, and cam­eras have re­cently been in­stalled.

The school will also use money from its own bud­get for pa­trols to check the grounds over the week­end and Ms Stock­well is li­ais­ing with the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion for a high fence to be con­structed.

Young peo­ple are now banned from the grounds out­side school hours un­less they are ac­com­pa­nied by an adult.

Ms Stock­well wants lo­cal res­i­dents to act as their eyes and ears over Fri­day and Satur­day nights, alert­ing po­lice if they see any­one sus­pi­cious on Maraeroa prop­erty.

‘‘What’s hap­pen­ing is sad for the com­mu­nity, it’s a lovely, lovely school and so many chil­dren of lo­cal peo­ple go here.

‘‘I would say it’s young peo­ple do­ing the dam­age, they pos­si­bly live around here and would be known, which is dis­turb­ing.’’

Glass un­der­foot: Maraeroa School prin­ci­pal Ali Stock­well says bro­ken glass is of­ten found on school grounds on Mon­day morn­ings. She says stu­dents are not af­fected by what is hap­pen­ing, but they should not have to get used to it.

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