Vandals target school 13 times
Feeling the loss: Kaidon Smith, left, Gift Mendoza and Adrian Skelly with principal Mark Burns. Picture: Sharon Smith

A Rivervale primary school has been broken into 13 times this year, pushing it up the priority list for a security fence.

Tranby Primary School principal Mark Burns said vandals had got in by breaking windows and on five occasions they smashed a roller door to the sports shed.

The shed was cleared of more than $3600 of sports equipment in the most recent break-in.

When vandals broke into the sports shed earlier this year, they used stolen cricket and baseball bats to bludgeon native birds to death, leaving them to be found later by students.

"Students were very upset to discover that not only had the school been broken into again but that native birds had been killed," Mr Burns said.

"It is a safe place where they come to learn and are upset when they see their school vandalised.

"We speak with students about why these things happen and encourage parents to speak with their children about these incidents."

Mr Burns said the school had won approval to install a security fence later this year. It would make a big difference, he said.

In the past decade 27 primary schools and 10 secondary schools have installed fencing.

Education Department infrastructure executive director John Fischer said Tranby was one of the highest priority primary schools on the department's perimeter security fencing program for 2014-15 because of the cost of wilful damage, which was $192,329 over three years.

"Schools with the highest level of vandalism are approved for fencing," Mr Fischer said.

"The department aims to reduce the level of wilful damage at these schools and fencing is an effective way to do this.

"However, not every community wants their school hidden behind a fence so it's up to schools to apply for one if they think it will be an asset."

Mr Fischer said community members could help reduce vandalism at schools by reporting suspicious behaviour to police or School Watch.

The West Australian

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