Getting to Know the Problem
Picture this, a student is sitting at their desk struggling to finish her classwork before the bell rings. Let’s call her Anna. So while Anna is reading a passage from a story, she notices a distracting doodle on the corner of her desk. Someone has drawn a sidetracking little cartoon on the school’s property. The ink was starting rub off on Anna, making her lose her place in her reading and force her to start over. Anna could not focus very well, and the simple yet disrupting drawing was frustrating her.
This doodle is something known as vandalism. The official definition of vandalism from the Uniform Crime Reporting Division (UCR) of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is “willful or malicious destruction, injury, disfigurement, or defacement of any public or private property, real or personal, without the consent of the owner or persons having custody or control" as stated in the most recent Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Fact Sheet on Juvenile Vandalism. People vandalize because of many reasons. They do it to rebel, get rid of frustration, and show anti-social behaviors.Also, the more that there is unemployment and depression in our communities, the more there will be vandalism because people who are unemployed or depressed will do more outrageous actions, such as vandalizing property. Vandalism involves damaging benches, desks, bathrooms, plants, windows, walls, and much more. Graffiti is a major form of vandalism.
Every day, school property is taken and vandalized almost everywhere. It happens all over the world. Some of the things damaged can be inappropriate and cost a lot to remove. It expenses about $8 billion dollars a year to remove graffiti and other damages each year, and it causes higher tax rates in the area. It also removes some of the beauty of the school, which staff members try so hard to protect. Teachers who work at Edison Intermediate School in Westfield, New Jersey, like Mr. Matthew Varhley, 8th Grade History, say, "I would [definitely] get the police and other influential people, such as people in our local government, involved if I started to see vandalism in our school community." Staff are just one group of people who work hard to stop vandalism. Police and students try to do their part too. They all work together to do their part. Even though they are trying their hardest, vandalism is still occurring behind their backs.
Vandalism is a very widespread problem that the government should handle because people will do it less once the government is involved. The government tries to help prevent vandalism, but it is not enough. Vandalism is currently covered by state decrees in the United States. In an effort to control the impact of vandalism, many states have specific laws that may decrease certain forms of vandalism. These vandalism laws exist to prevent the destruction of property and public places, and may also exist to protect against hate crimes and other behavior that is directed at religious or minority groups. Depending on the specific state and value of the property damage, vandalism is either a misdemeanor or felony offense. Penalties typically include fines, imprisonment in county jail, or both. In addition, a person convicted of vandalism is frequently ordered to wash, repair, or replace the damaged property or participate in programs to clean up graffiti and other forms of vandalism. Still, there is not enough enforcement in our school communities. There are not enough people looking out for schools. People, both students and other persons, are continuing to ruin the learning atmosphere. The government should do more to help the students that are trying to learn.
Some people believe that vandalism is okay. This group of people is mostly made up of younger people who have vandalized in the past. They believe that it is a form of art. In reality, it is a violation to the rights of the property owner, in this case, the school. Also, some people do not believe that vandalism is a big enough problem in our society. They don't think that it really effects our school communities that much. Really, they are not thinking about the students that are coming to school to learn. If those students learn the wrong things, they will become very bad adults and cause our society to only grow worse. Studies have shown that students who learn in a messy and violated environment will have a greater chance of being unemployed later in life.
As you can see, vandalism is very bad. We need to work together to stop people from vandalizing our schools and defacing their property.