School Watch needs assistance from communities

Nanaimo school district want to see more neighbourhoods involved with School Watch programs.

District officials want to get more communities involved in School Watch programs.

Three schools were initially chosen to pilot the vandalism and crime prevention initiatives this year – McGirr and Pleasant Valley elementary schools and John Barsby Secondary School – but no neighbours attended the startup meetings for John Barsby and McGirr, so programs at those schools have been abandoned for the time being.

“Part of the program is involving the neighbours,” said Pete Sabo, district director of planning and facilities.

Later in the year, two schools experiencing some significant vandalism – Woodbank Primary School and Cinnabar Valley Elementary School – asked for school district and police help in starting up School Watch programs.

The programs continue at all three schools and principals remain in regular communication with residents.

Sabo said vandalism costs have been reduced at all three schools – to zero dollars some months at all three – and while it’s too early to tell if this is due to School Watch, he believes the program likely at least contributed to the lower numbers.

Kathy Bergman, principal at Pleasant Valley, said the program is having a positive effect at her school and she believes it has contributed to reducing vandalism.

“We’ve had some issues reported to us like graffiti and people on the roof,” she said. “Pleasant Valley isn’t a high vandalism area, but schools are targets – they sit empty from 6 p.m. on. I think having those people feel more connected, they’re more likely to come over or say something.”

Bergman was afraid at first that she would be inundated with phone calls and e-mails from residents, but the program clearly explains when to call police, the school board or the principal.

And the level of calls and e-mails Bergman’s received have been manageable.

Bergman said the group involved with the program has had discussions about other issues such as crosswalk placement and neighbours notified the school when a streetlight near the school had burned out.

Jamie Brennan, school board chairman and a member of the anti-vandalism committee, said the committee will discuss ways to get more buy-in from neighbourhoods so more programs can be put in place.

“The whole idea of the Schools Watch is that the neighbourhood is aware,” he said. “There’s no question of its value, we have to reconsider how we engage people, how we attract them to participate.”

Just Posted

Nanaimo author B.S. Thompson has released his debut novel, ‘The Book of Nodd.’ (Photo courtesy Nora Funk)
Nanaimo author invites readers into dangerous world of dreams in debut novel

B.S. Thompson unveils ‘The Book of Nodd’ with online launch June 20

Potters Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter present their joint exhibit ‘Dig It’ at Art 10 Gallery until the end of June. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Potters show pieces for home and garden at Nanaimo’s Art 10 Gallery

Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter’s show ‘Dig It’ on display until end of June

Construction work continues on the City of Nanaimo’s new Fire Station No. 1 on Fitzwilliam Street. (News Bulletin file)
Next phase of borrowing approved as Nanaimo fire hall construction ongoing

City of Nanaimo CAO says construction on Fitzwilliam Street hall on schedule and budget

Nanaimo Fire Rescue firefighters at the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Tenth Street near Southside Drive on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Driver OK after crashing vehicle off the side of Nanaimo’s Tenth Street

Crews say wet roads a factor a crash Sunday, June 13

Emergency crews on scene of a two-car crash at the intersection of Cranberry Avenue and the Trans-Canada Highway on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Crash blocks Cranberry intersection in Nanaimo, no one injured

Incident blocks both southbound lanes of Trans-Canada Highway

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

Most Read