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Drumduan School, Forres targeted by vandals over an eight month period

By Garry McCartney

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Pupils Isaac Dowle, Lilly Dowle, Katarina Versfeld and William Slater with school business manager Dorna Khorramzadeh.
Pupils Isaac Dowle, Lilly Dowle, Katarina Versfeld and William Slater with school business manager Dorna Khorramzadeh.

A school is being repeatedly targeted by vandals.

Pupils aged three to 18 at Drumduan School on Clovenside Road are regularly intimidated by a gang of teenagers who have been destroying property and verbally abusing staff on the site.

The school administrator stated there have been at least eight episodes of vandalism and antisocial behaviour since August.

She said: “The younger students are bewildered as to why this keeps happening, and the older students feel intimidated, especially when large groups of youths are on their equipment during school hours, and won’t leave when politely asked to do so. This has been a recurring problem, mainly on Friday early afternoons.

“We feel very demoralised. We try to make our spaces look as welcoming as possible for our students, within a tight budget. Their constant desecration is upsetting.”

The administrator claimed one of the incidents – on Friday, August 14 at 3.45pm – involved significant antisocial behaviour by 12 teenagers.

A picnic table was overturned and smashed.
A picnic table was overturned and smashed.

The most serious attack on the school occurred on Tuesday, January 21, and involved: a picnic bench on the lawn being broken; damage to outside walls by black ink; a water container at the outdoor handwashing station being destroyed; a garden tub being set on fire; a lean-to shed being broken into and the front wall broken; a small shed being broken into, the door frame, door, and wall severely damaged; a storage caravan being broken into, a glass door and four windows broken.

Broken panelling at a seating area.
Broken panelling at a seating area.

More recently, a staff member was verbally abused by a group of teenagers while asking them to leave the school play equipment. One of them also tore down one of the school’s outside Covid mitigation signs.

“It’s so frustrating!,” said the administrator.

“The antisocial behaviour of a few young people who use the grounds for under-age drinking, bottle smashing and outdoor building parkour is tricky to negate.

“We are in process of overhauling our CCTV system to work as a deterrent and identify those who use the grounds in a destructive manner.”

She added: “We have always enjoyed being a part of the community, and value the positive relationship we have with those who use the rights of way respectively.

“However, due to the many incidents over the past seven months, we are now having to look into ways of making our campus more secure, and to reiterate that most of the school and grounds are on private property, with the exception of the rights of way pathways that traverse through.”

Inspector Kerry Rigg confirmed Forres Police are investigating two of the incidents.

She said: “The first incident occurred over the weekend of Friday, January 16 and involved damage caused to an outdoor seating area that had been constructed by the staff and pupils.

“The second occurred overnight on Thursday, January 21, where persons caused damage to a picnic bench and a static caravan. There was also a fire lit in the outdoor grounds of the property and some school property, including a go-kart, placed into the fire.

“No persons have been charged for the relevant offences at this time, however, we are continuing to follow up a positive lead.”

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