Schools Asks Neighbors To Watch For Vandals

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, December 29, 2008

Olga Arellano is the principal of Ethel I. Baker Elementary School in the Fruitridge area of Sacramento…a school once targeted by vandals. 

“Two years ago my office was broken into.” 

Arellano and a group of parents, staff and students are getting set to go door-to-door in the surrounding neighborhood. They’ll be asking residents to watch for any unusual activity. 

One of the parents helping out is Kelly Rosenberg.  

“We’re here for the kids. There’s not a single excuse in the world to do anything that would hurt a kid and that includes their education, their safety.” 

The winter holidays can be costly. District Police Sergeant Vince Matranga says over the past two years, vandals have caused $14,000 worth of damage. He says it’s usually kids who get bored during the two-week winter recess and break windows, spray paint graffiti and steal equipment. 

“We just don’t have the budget to spend repairing classrooms due to vandals and also replace equipment that’s been stolen by thieves. So it’s so important right now for our neighborhoods to step up.” 

That’s why this year school principals like Olga Arellano are knocking on neighborhood doors. 

Arellano says residents also have a vested interest in keeping the neighborhood school safe. 

“I want them to take ownership because this is our school. Not just my school, not just the student’s school but our community school. If we keep the school safe most likely the surrounding homes here are going to be safe.” 

District officials say other schools are also going door-to-door…being proactively vigilant against vandalism. They say at a time of deep budget cuts and a tough economy, they can’t afford not to be.