Sonoma County School District is facing vandalism

SONOMA, California (BCN) District – Sevastopol School District Trustees have written a letter to residents regarding a “significant problem” of vandalism on school campuses and the possibility of erecting an 8-foot fence around one middle school to prevent this.

The letter, dated only as “Spring 2022,” describes cases of fires, thefts, parties, encampments, fireworks, dog waste, looting, skateboarding, trespassing and tagging, most notably on the Brock Haven campus at the Valentine Avenue school.

Brook Haven has an open breeze design that invites community but can also be described as an “attractive nuisance” to celebrating teens and others who want to be there for activities other than recreation or education.

Sevastopol School Superintendent Linda Irving and Sarah Graham, Brock Haven’s principal, said that since the school is located near a public park, it invites cross-legged traffic. Both consider adding a fence a last resort, but perhaps necessary.

“We feel that perhaps the community is unaware that the facility is not being used properly,” Irving said. “And maybe with education, we will not have to build a fence and restrict access to people who do not abuse it.”

The trustees note in the letter that they are “committed” to allowing the community to use the school facilities after work hours, but the activities have made the areas unsafe and caused damage and raised maintenance costs.

The board said it was considering building an 8-foot perimeter fence in Brook Haven to close the campus.

The county recently dipped a sports area and a new football and basketball court, which will now be behind the fence, as well as basketball courts and school buildings. The tennis courts will still remain available for community use after work hours, they said.

The trustees estimate that the cost of the fence will range from $ 600,000 to a million and it will “eliminate” things like basketball games, “spontaneous” Frisbee or football games, catching and running games.

“We ask you to cooperate with us on how to resolve this issue,” the letter said. “A balance between the safety of our children and access to the public.”

The council attached to the letter rules and guidelines for its campuses and said the areas would remain open after work hours, but “appropriate” community use over the next few months would determine whether the campus would be closed or remain open to the public.

Irving and Gram said something like an encoded gate could be put in, but it would be an even bigger expense.

The SUSD Board of Trustees includes Presidents Deborah Dermel, Elizabeth Smith, Olivia Leon, Joe Foger and Miria Volk.

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