Over the past few years the ACT Education and Training Directorate (ETD) has run a concerted program to install security fencing around the perimeter of schools. Currently, three quarters of schools have been fenced with several more to come before the end of this financial year.
The program has had a dramatic effect on school vandalism. In 2009, 300 attacks by vandals caused $606,000 worth of damage. Last year, that figure had more than halved to $240,00 (in 146 incidents) and the first six months of this year saw only 22 incidents costing $80,000.
Repairing damage done by vandals comes out of a school's budget, so fewer attacks mean more money for schools to spend on education resources.
School sites with a high incidence of vandalism or those with high value items at risk of being stolen or damaged were prioritised to be fenced first. The department also considered how close a school is to public places and how easy the grounds are to access.
Amanda Bichard, acting Council President, congratulates the Directorate on their sustained commitment to fencing schools.
"It is a wonderful result. Less vandalism means schools are saving money on repairs so that there are more resources for the students. We are also pleased that parents and the school community is part of the process. That way, the community as a whole gets what it wants," she said
If a school wants a security fence it should lodge a request to ETD's Infrastructure and Capital Works Branch who will consult with the school about fence design and placement and create a concept plan for community discussion. The fence can go ahead once the Principal, School Board and P&C are happy to support the plan.
Schools wanting a fence can contact ETD's Mark Neathercote.
This article appeared in ParentACTion, Term 4, 2014. See other past editions of our quarterly magazine.