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Schools Under Attack

by msecadm4921

One in five children starting the new school year will have returned to find that their school has been targeted by mindless vandals during the holidays, it is claimed.

A new survey by ADT found that one in five schools surveyed suffered some form of vandalism or arson over the summer vacation. Of the schools targeted, 15 per cent believe that the attacks will have a direct impact on returning pupils. Incidents included theft and damage to a computer suite; damage to a roof which resulted in a classroom being flooded; and an arson attack on temporary classrooms. Furthermore, 42 per cent of head teachers surveyed are now voicing concerns over the growing problem of arson and vandalism, which they claim is having a worrying impact on teachers and pupils nationwide.

The survey findings come as no surprise to ADT arson man Peter Lackey, who says: “Fires in schools currently cost the nation around £100m, the same cost as employing an extra 3,750 teachers. This shocking situation points to the need for real action in Britain’s communities to combat this growing problem.”

Each year, over 2,000 schools are damaged by fire alone, and the Local Government Association claims that 70 per cent of these are started deliberately. Long summer holidays and dark winter evenings when school grounds are deserted are prime times for vandals.

Eric Joint of the Secondary Heads Association says: “Vandalism is a problem, particularly in the evenings, when bored youngsters go onto school sites to graffiti, or even throw bricks through windows, for want of something to do. Schools often have extensive grounds, and it is almost impossible to have a secure perimeter fence all the way around to prevent trespassers, although I know of some schools which have had to resort to
this due to crime problems.”

As a result, schools are now recognising the need to invest in modern fire and security systems to minimise damage and risk. Joint says: “My school, Denefield, in Reading, has been fortunate to have very few incidents of vandalism or trespassing, thanks to our fantastic indoor and outdoor CCTV system. Our use of better quality, digital cameras, which are often hidden, is crucial in helping catch and deter vandals. They are also great in helping to manage student behaviour within the school, such as
discouraging pupils from setting off the fire alarm.”

Denefield also uses keypads and entry codes on all external doors, outside main school hours; another popular security solution for large buildings like schools.

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