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Vandalism Problem Persists at Wantagh School Playgrounds

District plans second community message in less than two month period alerting public about continued vandalism and underage drinking of local teens at school playground areas during nighttime hours.

The Wantagh School District is planning a second community message in less than two months alerting the public about a continued vandalism problem caused by “packs” of area teenagers drinking alcohol while hanging out at elementary school playgrounds during nighttime hours.

The latest community message will address incidents involving a large group of youths at this past weekend that featured underage drinking, vandalism and destruction of property. Wantagh Board of Education vice president Robert Leuchtmann said during the school board’s Wednesday night meeting that since the district last alerted the public about teen vandalism at area playgrounds, the problem has persisted at all three elementary schools.

“We’re asking parents, please, please know where your children are, ask where they are going and be involved,” said Leuchtmann during the school board meeting held in the Auditorium. “The district has been in contact with the Nassau County Police Department and if this behavior does not cease, unfortunately we will have to resort to arresting and prosecuting.”

In response to vandalism acts during the fall, district officials new yellow "no trespassing" signs at the entrance of all six Wantagh schools in November. Wantagh Interim Superintendent of Schools Dr. Richard Marsh also met with PTA leaders late in the fall to get feedback on how best to address the vandalism problem at Wantagh Elementary School, and . 

Wantagh Board of Education president William Russack said the district has been in contact with the Nassau County Police Department's and First Precincts to request additional patrols in the areas around the three elementary schools. Russack also said the district is exploring the feasibility of adding security cameras by the playground areas.

Malone January 18, 2012 at 02:37 AM
Hey if the kids are on you're property, by all means do what you have to do get them out of there. Once I caught a couple of kids dragging our bball hoop down the street, I caught up to them and one of them got their hands stuck in the net while his friends ran away, I took him by the collar and made him drag the hoop by down the street back to our house and sent him on his way. The hoop hasn't been touched since. For the cops; shame on them. If people are destroying your property them I would suggest grabbing one of the little hooligans and put a little fear in them. Growing up didn't you always avoid a few houses when walking the streets with my pals, because you knew that one father or mother was be the ones chasing you down the block? P.S. ..... Public Safety is a joke, just another waste of tax dollars.
Chris Wendt January 18, 2012 at 10:26 AM
In Nassau, the police want you to call 9-1-1 anytime you need an officer to respond to a situation. However, kids hanging out is generally no cause to call for the police. I mean, kids are allowed to hang out. Now, as for kids up to criminal mischief at a public school, that is not just kids hanging out. However, the school district, whether they like it or not, whether or not they accept this fact, has the primary responsibility to supervise and secure school property, to detect and deter unauthorized entry or use, and, to not maintain a public nuisance... ...such as an unlocked parking lot, an unlocked school doorway, or a large, unlit, open playground apparatus. Posting signs does not constitute "supervision", and neither does expecting the cops to do the school's job, especially when the school just won't do their own job. I have had the extreme displeasure of reading summonses and complaints filed against the school district over the years by parents seeking damages for the district's "failure to supervise" our property. The school board already knows that some parents are part and parcel of this problem. By some, there are names associated with certain parents who enable this problem. School board members cannot reasonably expect that parents will solve this problem, or, do the schools' job in this regard, since some parents don't even do their own job as parents.
Lorraine DeVita January 20, 2012 at 02:25 PM
Chris, Parenting is one of the major issues, there are no consequences for the parents . Which is why THEY should be made to clean up and pay a fine for their off spring.
Chris Wendt January 20, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Parenting is probably the top issue. But not all parents of juvenile delinquents are delinquents themselves. There are consequences for delinquent parents, including liability for restitution in some instances, tort liability in others, and criminal liability for vioaltions of the social host law or for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. There is also that terrible telephone call or visit from a police officer bearing tragic news. But not all parents of adolescent miscreants are guilty of something for which they deserve "punishment", or for which retribution should be extracted from them. At some point our little darlings have to be held accountable for their own decisions, bad choices, and bad behavior. That's the whole deal with gowing up. On Monday, the Levittown Community Council will host a meeting for parents to educate them about "Juvenile Offenders and the Law". This meeting will start at 7:30 PM in the culinary arts room of the Levittown Memorial Education Center at 150 Abbey Lane. They give a contact for information as Pat Patane at 516-579-2831 or email at levittowncouncil@yahoo.com
Marie Post March 21, 2012 at 08:31 PM
I can tell you that the 7th precinct here is absolutely NO help at all, kids broke my fence once and were drinking, all the neighbors called the cops and do you know what they did, nothing, they came by...told the kids to keep it down that they could hangout on the corner, then me and my neighbors asked why the kids we still hanging out here and they broke some fences, the cops were nasty and all they could tell us was "did you get any names" ARE YOU KIDDING ME, back in the day all 20 something kids could have gotten a summons if the kid that did it didn't come forth, all I have to say is wait until these kids get older and become a bigger problem for these cops that don't want to do anything now with these insane kids!! Cops here are part of the problem!! Period!!!

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