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The Student News Site of Concord High School

Concord Chronicle

Concord Chronicle

The Student News Site of Concord High School

Concord Chronicle

Concord Chronicle

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Vandalism at Concord

Concord deals with vandalism
Floor broken by students in the boys bathroom. Courtesy of Bob Vandenburgh

Over the last few years, Concord schools have been dealing with a lot of vandalism. This includes bathrooms, windows, buses, and more. But the real question is what is causing students to do this? According to Urban Institute, vandalism is often committed to express frustration, get revenge, and express a message. Vandalism is everywhere, not just in Concord.

The boys’ bathroom has been vandalized on multiple different occasions. Our janitor, Mr. Steve McDonald, explains that 99% of vandalism that has happened has occurred in the boys bathroom. He goes on to share that he has never had to deal with vandalism in the girls’ bathroom, only the boys’.  To back this up, NIH explains that it is more likely for a young male to vandalize than a young female. This could be because of delayed maturity, in which the male brain matures at a slower rate. 

Vandalism does not just stay in the boys’ bathroom. Another recently vandalized object at our school was brand new screens in three different windows. This was caused by two unnamed students whose motive was unknown. But, we do know that it will cost the school additional money to fix. This is not ok, because it is wasting taxpayer money that could be used to improve and maintain our buildings rather than fix screens, some of which were brand new a couple months prior. 

Mr. McDonald shares that a majority of the vandalism started after a TikTok trend. This trend was called “devious licks,” which is where students would steal objects from their school and post it on Tiktok. This was popular at the start of the 2022 school year. No one knows why this trend started, or where the words “devious lick” came from. But according to The Tribune, this trend has caused millions of dollars worth of damage to schools everywhere. 

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Many people blamed vandalism on the fact that our principal was very strict, but after a new principal came into office, we still deal with these problems. New principal, Mrs. Snyder shares, “My understanding is there has been a history of vandalism within the district, and that is very disheartening. When we think about our school as staff and students, it is our home away from home. It is the second place that we spend the majority of our lives being at.”

Thousands of dollars have been spent to repair vandalized things in the school. Our building, grounds, and maintenance supervisor, Mr. Bob Vandenburgh gives us some data on this: “In the past two years the district has spent over $10,000 on repairs that have been made due to vandalism. There are also things this year that still need to be repaired,” he shares.

Vandenburgh explains what happens after something is vandalized, and what actions have been taken to try and stop it. “We have had to close down restrooms for an extended period in order to make repairs, which causes students to walk a longer distance to use a restroom that is open. We have been working hard to have more interior and exterior security cameras installed throughout the district to make it easier to identify individuals involved. We encourage everyone affected to keep a watchful eye and try to recognize when someone is acting out of character. A student may need help and not really know how to ask for it, or it may be a situation where the student needs to be reported for vandalism. We are working hard to get students to understand that it isn’t just a simple repair, there is a lot of labor involved in cleanup, making the repairs, reviewing security footage, and meeting with the parties involved. Not only does it require a lot of time, but it also takes time and funds away from making other improvements around the district,” he shares. 

If students decide to vandalize something, there will be many consequences. Our local law enforcement  Officer Larry Jacobson elaborates on the consequences of getting caught: “A lot of that [consequence] is going to be based on what the dollar amount is and what it costs to fix it. As an example, we had three former students go down (to the ball park) and do donuts. They tore it up pretty good. But, we had someone who was there doing some electric work that night got pictures of their license plates so that was easy. But, in order for the village to grade and fix the parking lot, they had to have a professional come in, and it’s going to be $4000 to repair the parking lot. So what we do with that is technically over a thousand dollars in damage, which should be a felony, but, they’ll make it a misdemeanor. It usually depends on the cost of the damage,” he continues. “Usually what we try to do if it’s something really stupid, we usually try to talk to them and give them a warning.”

Even if students vandalize something on school property, they will still deal with consequences through the police department. Officer Jacobson elaborates, “Most of what we do is reactionary, meaning it happens, and then somebody calls and says, ‘Hey, this happened.’Then we go about finding who it was through videos, trail cams, and doorbell cams. Once we find out who it was, then we confront them,” he explains. “If they say no it wasn’t me, I’ll show them the video or picture, and then complete the report. I get the damage assessment, how much it’s going to cost, I ship it off to the prosecutor’s office, and the prosecutor will decide if there’s enough evidence to charge; they make the decision.” 

Mrs. Snyder explains what consequences she would implement if someone gets caught. “The consequences for vandalism are based on the severity of the destruction. Some potential consequences of this type of behavior could be through restorative practices, such as the individual taking care of the items that are left within the space, up to criminal charges,” she explains. This is based on the destruction that would have taken place and the cost to repair damages,” she says. “I have this year implemented that if you make a mess, you will be responsible for taking care of the mess. We will also ensure that our school, our home away from home, is where we are proud to be and enjoy being a part of.”

The costs when repairing some often broken items are expensive. Mr. Vandenburgh explains,  “Students’ parents would get called to the school and be responsible for the costs involved. It all depends on what the offense is. For example, a toilet is around $500, an automatic flush valve $700, a bus seat $200, fire extinguisher $100, soap dispenser $100, graffiti $50 per hour to attempt to remove, and window screens $200 each.”

So, let’s trace back to the why. Why do students decide to vandalize? According to Arizona State University, the main cause for vandalism among the student body is due to trying to achieve a goal, such as getting school canceled. Another reason that ASU shares is as a protest against school rules. Both of these could easily be potential causes of in-school vandalism. 

Officer Jacobson shares what he thinks caused kids to vandalize: “I think it’s a couple things, for one I think it’s boredom. But it’s also that they’re not afraid of the consequences. When I was young, I went out and did some stupid stuff, but it wasn’t anything bad because I was terrified my dad would find out. If you don’t have any fear of the consequences of getting caught, then it just keeps growing. But that lack of consequences is probably it. You can be a great kid, and go out and do absolutely stupid things. But usually it’s just that they don’t fear the consequences, and have too much time on their hands.” 

But, don’t let all of this make you think that Concord is a bad place because it’s not. We are a very safe community that rarely deals with problems. Officer Jacobson leaves one last piece of information: “Comparing us to other communities, we are wonderful. Compared to Parma and Hanover, we are very blessed. When something happens, we are usually able to identify who it is pretty quickly, because we live in such a small community.”

Concord has an amazing community that tries its best for everyone to enjoy. So why vandalize?

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About the Contributor
Rylee Sinden
Rylee Sinden, Editor/Staff Writer
My name is Rylee Sinden, and I am a Senior here at Concord High School. In my free time, I love playing volleyball, gardening, and shopping. After high school, I want to work with plants, and possibly open my own greenhouse. I love publications and am so excited to be part of this team again!

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