By Christine Kim
Channel 2 News
6:05 PM AKDT, June 19, 2011
The Anchorage School District said it's seeing a spike in vandalism at its schools, with 6-7 reports of vandalism, each week. That’s why the district believes camper hosts, like Marlene Vickery, play a crucial role.
Several times a day, Vickery takes her dogs for a walk while she makes her rounds at Rogers Park Community School. She is one of an average of 40-60 camper-hosts who live on school grounds in RV’s to keep an eye out during the summer.
“We gotta make sure nobody's been doing anything back here,” said Vickery. “I like to make sure nobody's been using this for graffiti.”
Vickery's stay at the school lot, so far, involved discovering two incidents of graffiti, kids smoking cigarettes, and children trying to get inside the school. Superintendent Carol Comeau says the district is seeing more cases of vandalism this summer than in previous years, with the majority of the cases involving graffiti or broken windows.
“We will go as far as we can in terms of restitution and to prosecute them because we don't want people to think it's okay to do this or that there will be no sanctions,” said Superintendent Carol Comeau.
Creekside Elementary School found its newly planted flowers, gone and destroyed. A few days ago, at Turnagain Elementary School, school officials found several windows broken, which are now boarded up.
“They appear to be 5th, 6th, 7th grade, but they were Turnagain students, which is even more disheartening,” said Comeau.
Footage from security cameras, helped school employees identify and catch the 4 boys who appear to have broken the windows. Anchorage police arrested the kids for vandalism, and Comeau said the school will also take disciplinary action.
“They’re invading the school district space. They’re destroying public property paid for by taxpayers, and it’s just sending the wrong message,” said Comeau.
The school district and camper hosts like Vickery said it's important for the community to also have a watchful eye.
“Know what your kids are doing, and what they’re up to. Don’t leave them to their own devices,” said Vickery. “Kids are kids.”
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