Vandals have struck The Gregory School’s campus once again, this time defacing buildings and destroying property. Unfortunately, the school’s security problems continue to extend well beyond graffiti on the walls.
This problem is not new: anonymous criminals have left their mark on campus before. This time, TGS administrators have had enough and are preparing to fight back.
Profane graffiti was discovered on a Sunday night, scrawled and sprayed across buildings in the upper school. According to Head of School Dr. Julie Sherrill, the administration believes the vandals struck between 4 and 6 PM on Sunday.
“Blood gang” and crude profanity was spray painted on walls all around campus, even on a mural created by art students. For some, this latest incident is the last straw.
“It seems like we’re not safe, like when there are homeless people that wander into the school,” senior Daniel Rosenberg said. “But what are we going to do? Build a wall?”
The administration has begun to assess which parts of campus are most vulnerable. Ron Bowen, the interim TGS facilities manager, said, “I think the school was designed in kinder, gentler times when we didn’t have the type of vandalism that we have today, which is the type of security issues that all schools are faced with.” Bowen previously worked for a private investigation firm.
Bowen notes that “we essentially have an open campus … The fencing that is around the school is inconsistent and easily traversed as well. A lot of places it’s open, it’s broken down.” Bowen is currently working on creating a list of all the people who have keys to campus facilities.
“I know that that very, very late in the evening we have people coming and using the gym that aren’t staff or students,” Bowen said.
Bowen said, “We’re developing security options, and are learning that having some outside surveillance cameras is not a bad idea.”
According to Sherrill, the school is also negotiating with its current security provider to arrange more drive-by checks on nights and weekends.
The administration has indicated that they expect to install surveillance cameras near the gym to see who is coming and going, on the guard house to capture license plates, and pointing at lockers to catch thieves. Bowen is preparing a report for Sherrill and the administration, who will review it and possibly present recommendations to the Board of Trustees.
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