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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.

JG January 12, 2012 at 12:03 PM
How about some bright lights out there.
JG January 12, 2012 at 12:04 PM
Bright lights and cameras!!!
Joe January 12, 2012 at 01:24 PM
I think this said it best: “We’re asking parents, please, please know where your children are, ask where they are going and be involved,” Real simple, if they are going out at night they are not going for study sessions, wise up parents!
EJB January 12, 2012 at 01:55 PM
The time to start making arrests is NOW. The kids think that this is a joke and a challenge. Just the other night there were two NCPD patrol cars in the back of the Wantagh Elementary School. Out on Beech St there was a whole pack of kids that were just waiting for them to leave. In fact they would send "scouts" back to see if the cars wee still there. Since there is no enforcement there is no fear.
EJB January 12, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Don't kid yourselves - the parents actually drop them off at the schoolyards!
Diane Stephan January 12, 2012 at 03:01 PM
The teens also drink, urinate and leave beer cans and broken bottles at the Duckpond playground. They have a huge grass area behind the playground that they can hang out, yet they choose to commune under the jungle gyms. I live too far up the street to see when they are there, but there a a few houses right across from the park and it seems no one calls the cops.
Diane Stephan January 12, 2012 at 03:03 PM
I was thinking motion activated flood lights that turn on after dark. Let there be light.
EJB January 12, 2012 at 04:25 PM
The motion sensors would have to be too close to the ground to pick up the movement - and then they would be vandalized! Catch 22. As it is now the kids are on the roof of the school half the time.
Cheap Sam January 12, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Here's a novel idea....get the cops that make $150,000 per year out from hanging out at the local firehouses/country clubs...eating, watching sporting events and playing video games and have them stand a fixed post until the kids get the idea. And one other thing...maybe the cops can actually lock someone up too. Isn't that their job?
Diane Stephan January 12, 2012 at 10:57 PM
What to generalize there Cheapie. Do you have evidence? Anyway, why don't we put blame where it deserves to be placed, the teens and their parents who should know where they are.
Malone January 13, 2012 at 12:32 AM
Wow hold the phone... Are you telling me kids drink at the schools during the weekend... Well call in the national guard cause we got ourselves a national security threat right here in Wantagh..... Before all you pearly eyed/white picked fence American dreamers go nuts just try to remember where you hung out when you were their age... What you all should be concerned with is the school curriculum, the teaching and how the school fairs with the rest of the state.
Malone January 13, 2012 at 12:34 AM
Take it easy over there Stalin
Diane Stephan January 13, 2012 at 12:38 AM
Hey Malone, as you can see from one of my comments, I don't care if they hang out, what I do care about is when I take my child to the park and it's dangerous because there are broken glass beer bottles in the wood chips around the jungle gym and the smell of piss. Hang out, but don't be destructive.
EJB January 13, 2012 at 02:29 AM
Just turn away from the subject at hand - that is what has been happening and that's why there is a problem. It has nothing to do with curriculum, teaching; people are still moving into this area because of the school district reputation. And, NO, it is not Stalinistic to teach your kids right from wrong. Or to have respect for other people or their property. Yeah I remember when I was a kid - and I also remember being corrected for doing the wrong thing.
Lorraine DeVita January 13, 2012 at 05:30 PM
To the parents of all these wonderful juvenial delinquents, who seem to think it is ok for them to drink , pee and destroy other peoples property, why not invite your drunk, drugged and urinating kids friends to hang out in YOUR backyard, they can wreak havoc on your dime.. please the attitude of some parents who simply chose to ingnor the fact that their perfect little darling isnt as perfect as they would like and the excuses "like you didint do it when you where that age?" only goes to prove that the brain damage FROM doing it at that age is VERY evident. If you dont KNOW where your kid is perhaps YOU SHOULD. Maybe OMG ACT like a parent and find out. . and if you DO know where they are and CONDONE/support or ignor this behaviour then perhaps you should NOT have had kids int he first place. Perhaps the PARENTs of these idiots should be forced to pay for and clean up the messes their kids create.REPEATEDLY until both the parent AND the kids takes ownership for their actions or lack of...
Malone January 13, 2012 at 11:53 PM
Maybe I should start typing in all CAPS to prove my point too because without actually reading you're comment you seem to make a great argument. Anyway, I'm not condoning this activity, all I'm saying is that this has been happening for decades and in retrospect have things really changed that much? Is it really the end of the world? As I said before we as a community should be more concerned with our district's falling behind other districts in the state on an educational level. O an one more thing Mrs. Devita, you're most likely a mother of some elementary children and I would like you to come have this argument when you're 4th kid is a senior in high school. Alright toots
Lorraine DeVita January 14, 2012 at 01:09 PM
LOL.. the last time i had a kid in 4th grade was 28 years ago! So i have been thru this twice! Actually my granddaughter is in kindergarten.. Now as to your comment. If parents acted like parents and took ownership of their responsibilities then it would solve several issues here. One would be addressing your concern-education, if the lil darling deliquints werent hanging out at all hours and destroying property,drinking and were home POSSIBLY studying then the level of education wouldnt be in jeopardy. The other would be as a parent who has been through two teenagers my philosphy was and is my job is to be your parent not your friend,and if i dont know where you are guess what you arent going. there was NO hanging out , the kids were either here at my house or at another parents house whose philosphy was the same as mine. And my kids were popular, had a good group of friends and did well in school. it all starts at home. As parents your kids are your responsibility ..its a 24/7 365 job you need to comitt to the job and the responsibility. Kids need rules, guidance and consequences.. if they dont have those then as parents we fail..Did my kids TRY to go around the rules, ofcourse, but they also knew their ass was grass especially if we had an inkling something wasnt kosher and yes we did get in the car and drag their embarrassed bottoms home and yes there were consequences.. and yes they learned mom and dad are smarter but more importantly they CARE..
Lorraine DeVita January 14, 2012 at 01:13 PM
and no my kids werent perfect no kid is..
smb January 16, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Since I live very close to Wantagh Elementary, and yes all of my children went there and have graduated from Wantagh I feel I can enlighten some of you to the facts. I have lived here for 28 years and this year the kids are the worst they have ever been. I have personally had to call the police twice this year (never had before), once the lovely children thought my yard was there playground (and I am talking packs of kids) running and rolling all over mine and my neighbors property, second time was when I caught them trying to steal my holiday decorations ( I had missed them the week before when the destroyed some). This past week while they were hanging out on Clifton Blvd, where none of them live, but its dark they actually broke a window of a neighbors car. These kids are so out of control and their parents dont care or they would be at their house. I have seen them run though neighbors yards, steal or damage any holiday decorations people put out, steal things off of cars, break flower pots or anything left outside. So I am assuming they arent reading the new yellow signs and still hang out at the playground and when chased travel down beech st --- so drunk some of them cant even walk - what do their parents say when they arrive home! Dont know who thought building a huge playground behind a school with no lights was a good idea, but now the neighbors pay the price every weekend!
Lorraine DeVita January 16, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Seaford kids hang out in the parking lots, especially the one behind the Library, the 7th precincts response is "would you rather they be doing drugs" an EXACT quote .. they drink, skate board , make loud noises, break the TOH fencing DAILY, interfere with traffic and buy sell and DO DRUGS! The COPS DO NOTHING.. When a unconsious drunk teen was found in my neighbors LOCKED and gated yard , he called 911, the cops came, dragged the kid out of my neighbors LOCKED yard by the seat of his pants and told his friends hanging out in the parking lot next door to take him home. that was it, no ambulance, no consequences, no nothing. TY 7th precinct. These kids HAVE the backing the support and the sympathy of the cops who turn a blind eye claiming there are no laws on the books, or if we dont catch them with the beer to their mouths , or if we dont see them doing damage we cant do a thing. The best response is "laws are enforceable at the discretion of the responding officer". For this i pay taxes? A 85 yr old half blind senile security person would provide more diligent service.. the parents of these kids should be rousted out of bed and told to clean up THEIR act & their kids mess.
Lorraine DeVita January 16, 2012 at 07:28 PM
oh the OTHER famous 7th precinct response is "where would you like them to go?" my response- "TRY HOME in their PARENTS houses/ backyards or perhaps YOUR house officer"
Lorraine DeVita January 16, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Personally I would encourage EVERY neighbor to call 911, not that it works.. and dont hold your breathe for a quick response, but ya never know. The other IS, VIDEO cameras and lights, which would capture the true essence of the lil darlings and they should be hauled into school WITH their parents , warned the first time but assigned after school cleanup duty WITH their parents and a 100 dollar fine. , second time suspended,same after school cleanup duty WITH their parents and 250 dollar fine. THIRD TIME cops called, and charges pressed.
Terri S January 17, 2012 at 08:57 PM
I too am very concerned with these kids, what I really would like is a weekend of peace.
Joe January 17, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Interesting about the police not wanting to get involved. I remembered when we requested help with a corner where kids took the bus and people just blasted through the stop sign, even when the school bus was there. Could never get them to come, it seemed like it was too trivial to them. Now this, so Nassau PD, what types of problems do you respond too? Public Safety seems to be no use as well, they hide somewhere with their trucks running to keep warm.
Zee January 18, 2012 at 02:29 AM
Im pretty sure that we dont need to call 911 to report kids hanging out. Call the precinct. Lets leave REAL emergencies to the 911 emergency line.
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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