Administration is grappling with how to handle recurring cases of vandalism at Palo Alto High School as graffiti has appeared on campus as recently as last week.
Over six counts of vandalism have occurred at Paly since late 2015, ranging from spray-painting on a mural to shooting at windows with BB guns.
According to Assistant Principal Jerry Berkson, students may face legal consequences ranging from community service to felony charges if they are caught damaging the campus in any way.
“Students can get cited for graffiti,” Berkson said. “In the past, there was a threshold where if you caused over $900 of damage to campus it would be a felony, and below would be a misdemeanor.”
In addition to working to find and punish the offenders, Paly must also handle cleaning up the vandalism. While smaller cases can be managed by school custodians, larger incidents may be directed to the district cleaners.
“Time spent on cleaning the vandalism takes away from their other work,” Berkson said. “It all amounts to time spent on cleaning up something unnecessary.”
Senior Serina Nguyen says the graffiti on campus is discourteous to both Paly students and staff.
“I don’t think the graffiti I’ve seen on campus has any artistic value at all,” Nguyen said. “The vandalism on the senior deck, for example, was incredibly disrespectful to the entire senior class and to those who spent money out of their own pockets and dedicated their weekend to making the deck look nice.”
According to Berkson, there are more positive ways to display artistic talent.
“Put your artistic abilities to a better use and respect your campus and anywhere else.”