Gabe Faimon | Reporter
SCRANTON—Recurring incidents of vandalism have occurred
at Scranton Attendance Center, including multiple broken bars
on the dome jungle gym, glass shards and small pieces of wire
scattered in sanded play areas, graffiti written inside the
tube slide, a burned hole in the top of the tube slide, pellets
shot through two small windows, an overturned concrete bench
on the Colt Walk of Fame, and paint and eggs splattered on
exterior walls of the building.
In a report to the Santa Fe Trail USD 434 Board of Education
at the Oct. 12 meeting, SAC Principal Sheree Gill said although
incidents had occurred within the past 12-18 months, frequency
had recently increased. She said one section of the tube slide
had to be replaced due to extensive, unacceptable graffiti
“Last week a couple living close to the school complained
about inappropriate behavior occurring during the late evening
hours on school grounds,” Gill said.
Gill requested that signs be posted and security cameras installed.
She said signs would provide notice of closure of school grounds
for public access from dusk until dawn, and cameras would
likely serve as a deterrent, while also providing a record
and possible identification of perpetrators. She said Scranton
Police Chief Larry Alexander recommended signs that specified
hours of closure.
Gill’s report produced active discussion by board members
and district administrators. Gill described a telephone call
she received in the past week. She quoted the caller as saying,
“Can you do anything with your playground? You have
no idea what goes on.” She said that in a recent SAC
staff meeting, Alexander said he had observed suspects running
away from school grounds late at night, but if apprehended,
they could only have been charged with curfew violation. Gill
said Alexander advised that due to extended daylight hours
during the summer, signage which specified dusk to dawn closure
would eliminate several hours when law enforcement could apprehend
and charge suspects for trespassing.
USD 434 Board President Randy Boudeman questioned if the problem
was district wide.
Overbrook Attendance Center Principal Tammy Endecott noted
the problem is not unique for Scranton, saying that approximately
two weeks ago, eggs had been thrown at building walls. She
said broken glass is routinely picked up daily on the playground.
Carbondale Attendance Center Principal Michael Flax said things
were not pleasant at CAC seven to eight months ago. He cited
incidents of vulgar and racial graffiti, paint splashed on
building doors and broken windows. He said that although exterior
security cameras have been installed this summer, higher camera
resolution would make it easier to identify vandals.
USD 434 Superintendent Steve Pegram said currently two students
are paying restitution for damage of district property, in
addition to being suspended from participation in extracurricular
Board members agreed the threat to student safety and the
cost to the district due to acts of vandalism is real and
must be addressed.
Gill’s requests were tabled for further investigation
into preventing vandalism and apprehending perpetrators.