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John Stewart Elementary hit repeatedly by vandals

Published: Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

ELBURN – At first, officials at Kaneland John Stewart Elementary School were annoyed when vandalism was reported in the school’s playground area.

But such incidents have happened three times since Sept. 27, and Principal Laura Garland said officials are upset, and they want it to stop.

“Enough is enough,” Garland said. “It’s completely unnecessary.”

According to reports from the Elburn police department, there were incidents of criminal damage to government-supported property Sept. 27 and Oct. 15 and an incident of mischievous conduct Oct. 27.

The playground is near the back of the school at 817 Prairie Valley St. Anderson Road stops at Prairie Valley Street, and the playground is behind the building and is not visible from the street.

According to police reports, a concrete bench was knocked over Sept. 27, and Garland said the bench has been removed because it became a safety hazard. She said the cost of such a bench is more than $500. Also, a steel chain was taken from a tether ball pole and wrapped around door handles for the school’s multipurpose room, which has a door that exits into the playground. The report noted that there had been incidents in the past, “including someone spreading feces on a door window.”

On Oct. 15, a bike rack was pried away from bolts in the west parking lot and moved into the playground. A concrete trash bin was moved into the playground, and a sign was moved.

On Oct. 28, police reported that it appeared and smelled as if someone had urinated on the handle of the door to the multipurpose room. Police also said it appeared as if someone had urinated on the slides.

The incidents occur late at night, Garland said. Those with information about the incidents may call the police department at 630-365-5070. Garland said if it’s a case of pranksters causing damage, they might not know that the school must use resources and time to make repairs. She said it was disappointing because the time and money devoted to the cleanup could be used in better ways.

She said it was disturbing that “somebody was there and doing something negative. It is an uneasy feeling”

Garland said it was possible to consider restricting use of the playground, but that officials consider the playground to be a benefit to the community, and they want youths to gather and stay active there. Also, she said, it’s possible security cameras could be installed, but that would represent another expense. She said school officials are concerned it could happen again.

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