Funds from High­lands’ re­cy­cling day will be used for sur­veil­lance gear

MidWeek Islander (West Oahu) - - Front Page - By LINDA DELA CRUZ

Michael Nakasato took the helm as Pearl City High­lands Ele­men­tary School prin­ci­pal Feb. 22 amidst an ef­fort by the stu­dent coun­cil to stop a re­cent graf­fiti epi­demic on cam­pus.

Among his first of­fi­cial du­ties: over­see­ing a re­cy­cling fundraiser day, set for 7 to 8 a.m. March 11. Funds from col­lected alu­minum, plas­tic, glass, cans and bot­tles will be used to pur­chase a mo­tion-de­tec­tor, cam­eras and flood lights to de­ter van­dal­ism at the school.

Ac­cord­ing to in­terim prin­ci­pal Hanh Nguyen, dur­ing his seven weeks fill­ing in for Nakasato PCHES has had three graf­fiti in­ci­dents, the most re­cent of which was dis­cov­ered af­ter Pres­i­dent’s Day.

“ There was tag­ging in two places, one on the build­ing and one on the play­ground,” said Nguyen. “The tag­ging is a cer­tain way of writ­ing and cer­tain words that are their call­ing cards or their han­dle.”

School of­fi­cials took pho­tos, no­ti­fied the po­lice and painted over the graf­fiti, but Nguyen said the van­dal­ism is a re­cur­ring prob­lem at oth­ers schools in the area.

“Our cam­pus is fairly open,” said Nguyen. “It is on Waimano Home Road, and the gates are not locked, so peo­ple have easy ac­cess to the cam­pus.

“ The pat­tern is that it oc­curs dur­ing the long week­ends, when there is a Fur­lough Fri­day, and espe- cially when a Fur­lough Fri­day oc­curs be­fore a hol­i­day.”

Nguyen said he be­lieves that since non­profit groups rent the school for their func­tions, that keeps the cam­pus busier and de­ters van­dals from do­ing even more graf­fiti.

To han­dle the prob­lem, the school hopes to strengthen its re­la­tion­ship with the com­mu­nity as­so­ci­a­tion walk­ing pa­trol.

“Hope­fully that will de­ter the ac­tiv­ity,” said Nguyen. “ We have talked about in­clude in­stalling video cam­eras, which is very pro­hib­i­tive cost-wise for a small ele­men­tary school like ours.”

He urges neigh­bors to re­port any un­usual ac­tiv­ity at the school dur­ing off-hours to the po­lice.

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