By Maximos Sortikos
Edited by Ioana Haratau
In our school, there has been a recent incident of vandalism in the boys’ bathrooms. The school staff found signs and drawings on the walls and even toilets and sinks destroyed. I was called, along with the rest of the boys, to attend to a meeting where the school counsellors talked to us about the situation. All the speakers, representing either the school administration or the pupils’ committee agreed that vandalism is wrong and that these incidents should not occur in our school.
When the meeting finished, I was pretty upset but also troubled. I’ve always thought that our school was a place where everyone respected each other. I remember when I was in primary school, there were similar incidents in the boys’ bathrooms, but I believed the cause was that the primary pupils are too young and sometimes immature. I wasn’t expecting such behaviors in secondary. I thought that kids in secondary were better and smarter than that. I believe that doing something like this is not funny and it doesn’t make you seem cool. There are surely some talented graffiti artists who decorate cities with their art, but drawing on someone else’s property without permission is unacceptable, even illegal. All these thoughts created two questions in my head: Why does vandalism happen and why is it a problem? I researched these questions and came up with some very interesting answers.
Why does vandalism happen?
Vandalism, namely in the form of graffiti, is everywhere, but why is that? It is wrong and, not to mention, illegal. It happens because of bad choices people make and, most of the time, vandals are just young people trying to look cool. Vandalism often occurs as a result of bad influence from friends. Friends are great but bad friends can get you into bad situations. Of course, no friend can force you to do an inappropriate act, but it is rather easy to get carried away. Sometimes strong emotions like jealousy, frustration and hatred can result to acts of vandalism. However, it is usually all about expressing opinions and ideas and seeking recognition. If this is the reason, vandalism is definitely not the right way to do it.
Why is vandalism a problem?
Vandalism can affect peoples’ lives because it damages and destroys things they care about. Vandalism is a form of violence, a social problem and an actual offense. Even in the case of a seemingly harmless graffiti, there are serious consequences. There are three basic ones:
A) Financial: Repairing the damage costs money. In case of a school, it means that in order to cover up graffiti, the school might have to cut out some other useful activities.
B) Social: Publicly viewable vandalism changes the atmosphere of a place. It may give the impression that the area is not well protected and perhaps unsafe.
C) Legal: Vandalism is a real problem and the punishment for someone who has committed it, it might seriously affect the person’s life and future.
A few years ago our school gave permission to pupils to use a wall for graffiti and drawings on the bottom floor of the building. The wall is pretty nice and I definitely think that it would be a good idea for the school to give students more chances to express themselves and show off their talent. This might not be a perfect solution to the vandalism problem but it might be a good start.