Thursday, November 20, 2008

How to get get graffti removed from a public school

I started posting back in August about some graffiti tags that have been sprayed on the external walls around Drummoyne Public School.  I know that there is a process that the school has to follow to have it removed - I've been through this process twice with Five Dock Primary.  The school has to report it to the Police, get a crime number, and then use that to make an insurance claim that will pay for the cleanup.

I have emailed the school, and written to them (phoning never seemed to do much) and the result to date has been nil.

The screwball thing is that contractors are currently working at the school to erect a fence around it - and they are putting up the fence right in front of some of the graffiti.  The fence will make it difficult to remove some of the graffiti, so it makes sense to clean it up now.

In fact it would have made more sense to clean it up 4 months ago when it first appeared, but that is by the by.  When I reported graffiti at Five Dock Public, it was removed within a day or two, so I know the Education Department can move quickly when the process is followed.  I think the problem in this case is that either no one knows what the process is, or they just couldn't be fagged to do anything about it.

I rang the Southern Region of the Education Department this afternoon and asked to be put through to the Asset Manager or Project Manager that takes care of this school.  Three minutes later, I was talking to him on his mobile.  I dealt with him previously regarding Five Dock, so I know he will get it fixed.  It's just very disappointing to me that the staff who work at the school do not appear to have lifted a finger to get the graffiti removed.  The tools are there at their disposal.  It took me only a minute or two to find the appropriate person to talk to in order to get it fixed, and I don't work for the Department.  I am an outsider.  The information is all there, for those that care to look for it.

I'm doubly disappointed that this has happened to a school.  What sort of message are the staff at Drummoyne Public hoping to send to their pupils in regard to graffiti?  That they can spray it with impunity, and no one will bother to have it removed?  That they care a lot?  The year six students at this school will be entering high school next year - they will be at the perfect age to start vandalism, or at least commencing an interest in graffiti.  Will they leave Drummoyne Public with a strong moral objection to vandalism, or will they think it is cool and OK?

Disclosure - my son attended Drummoyne Public last year, and is now in high school.  He thinks graffiti is cool, even though I do my best to disabuse him of that notion.  I'm afraid I might be fighting a losing battle against the pressure of his peer group, since few of them appear to have been taught to respect other people's property.

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