Did you know that the number one predictor of school vandalism is a lack of bonding and attachment to school and school staff? When students feel connected to their school community, they are far less likely to deface or destroy the physical space around them.
Preventing School Vandalism
Here are some creative ways to build connections and a sense of ownership in your school:
- Create a “vandalism account.” To provide an incentive to students, schools can designate a specific dollar amount that would ordinarily be used for vandalism-related repairs. If the building remains clear of damage and graffiti, the funds can be used at the end of semester for something students desire such as a pizza party, field trip or dance (Idea courtesy of Center for Problem Oriented Policy, 2015).
- Have all classrooms adopt a location in the school and maintain it regularly. For details and a free downloadable “Adopt a School Location” poster, visit Intervention Central.
- Allow students to create artwork, murals and other welcoming spaces in the school to facilitate ownership and bonding.
Of course, a good deal of vandalism occurs after school hours, so you’ll want to be sure you also have adequate lighting, cameras, signage and controlled entry during the off-hours. Putting all of these practices in place will go a long way toward preventing school vandalism and promoting a more positive learning environment.