BERWICKSHIRE MSP John Lamont has raised concerns over the amount of money Scottish Borders Council have spent in the last year rectifying vandalism to schools in the region, claiming the level of spending is “simply unsustainable.”
It was a Freedom of Information request from Mr Lamont’s party, the Scottish Conservatives that revealed the local authority had spent nearly £30,000 repairing damage within schools last year.
A total of £28,741 was spent tackling vandalism and although Berwickshire schools didn’t feature too prominently in the list, with Berwikshire and Eyemouth high schools not featuring at all, the Conservative MSP said he was worried what impact having to fork out so much on repairs would have on pupil’s education.
Addressing the issue, he commented: “It is worrying that so much money is being spent repairing the damage caused by vandals in our schools. Vandalism is a mindless and petty action, and it is clear from these figures that there are serious consequences.
“When school budgets are already tight this is a huge amount of money that is being diverted away from other areas of education.
“Pupils in the Borders deserve the best education that we can provide, but this is harder to do when so much money is being spent repairing acts of vandalism.
“Such acts are totally irresponsible and we need to start tackling this problem. Not only is much tougher action required to punish those caught vandalising school property, we also need to attack the root of this problem.”
“Those committing vandalism need to know the harm that their acts cause, not only to the school but to the local community. By teaching them the consequences of these actions maybe they can learn that it is not an acceptable thing to do.
“What is clear is that we need to take urgent action now. This level of spending is simply unsustainable and we need to see these costs drop.”
Of the Berwickshire schools featured in the table released by Scottish Borders Council in light on the Freedom of Information Request, Greenlaw Primary ranked highest with £944 to repair vandalism. Of the others which had been targeted by vandals, £214.26 required to be spent at Coldsream Primary; £193.57 at Chirnside; £125.47 at Cockburnspath; £101.97 at Coldingham; £63.27 at Eyemouth and £38.27 at Ayton.
Burnfoot Primary topped the list, with £4,382 spent on addressing vandalism there in the last 12 months, with nearby Hawick High School not far behind on £3,985.
Commenting on the figures, a council spokesperson said: “It is disappointing that this amount of money is having to be used to repair damage caused by vandalism.
“We will continue to monitor CCTV of schools; work closely with police when there are incidents of this nature, and educate our pupils to be responsible citizens.”