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Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - January 28, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Tlic Cedar Kaplds Gazette: Mon., Jan. 28, 1974 Iowa City School Vandalism Combat Plans Aired Hy Ford Clark IOWA CITY According to its own records, tlie Iowa Cily Community school district suf- fered 1C imijor cases of break- ing and entering in the schools during 1973. This was in addition to many other cases in which vunduls either failed to gain entry to the schools or inflict- ed only minor damage to school property. Overall, according to the school system's business man- ager, vandalism cost the .school system over during the last year. School Closed The severity of (lie problem was highlighted dramatically when a brcakin at Helen Lemnie school Dec. llilh re- sulted in so much damage to the classrooms, library, and study areas, that it was im- possible to hold classes the next day. To combat what School Supl. Merlin Ludwig calls "this most serious the school district is coining up with a many-sided ap- proach involving a number of highly innovative pilot pro- grams. As Supl. Ludwig explained: "At the last school board meeting we presented two staff reports dealing with this problem. "First, we issued a warning to parents that they would be held financially responsible for any damage done to school property. This could mean a cost of up to per in- cident of vandalism to parents of children involved in sucli incidents. "Hopefully this may make a few parents a little more con- cerned if their children start to stay out all hours of the night on weekends the fa- vored target time for attacks against the schools. "Secondly, we told the school board we were very in- terested in a pilot program along the lines of programs found to be very successful in other school districts across the country, that is, allowing people with home trailers to park rent free on school prop- erty and act as built-in, live-in custodians." Ludwig noted that, "Our district also owns outright a number of trailer units used as temporary, movable class- rooms. "If, as enrollment figures indicate, we might close down some schools in the district, -this would free some of these units to be located at each school. "And then allow for Univer- sity of Iowa students to have these units rent-free for acting as live-on-campus custodians. These units already have life support systems built in, with only toilet and bathing facili- ties needed to be added to make them livable." Ludwig went on to say, "The program I like the best is this We would propose to the school board that they allow us to set aside a sum of money to each school equal to the amount we spent on van- dalism at that location during this last school year. "Then, if vandalism falls off at that particular school, we would take the money saved and let the students them- selves use the money for a school project of their choice. Student Slake "Say, a renting of films to be enjoyed by students during their uncommitted periods. in Woman's Slaying OTTUMWA Police here Sunday arrested and charged two juveniles with mur- der in connection willi (he al- leged strangulation slaying of an elderly Otlumwa woman Sat- urday night. Police said they received a call Saturday night from a neighbor of Mrs. Ada Caldwcll, VO, who said she had found the woman's body. An autopsy report released by the Wapcllo county medical ex- aminer listed Ihc official cause of dealh as .slrangulalion. Police said limy booked Ihc pair after an extensive inlerro- galion. KslnbllstlBtl In So fiiiVdpAvo! Ife, "iVJnr'IRroi'ijirToiira MW.5rir.imd cJiiil T'oilano pcild al Cedar Rapldi, luwc am! 0.5. Imrllorun VIQ a moll miner lillinn nccnplitd In 'vino tfirrUMorvlce. Aiuehilnl li ftlun v la mo rijpimllr.ntloll al fiH nm nrlnlnd 11, ill wall idl Alv nnwi dUpukliw, This way (lie money would go for u useful student project, rather than simply being thrown down the drain. "Hopefully, this method might iiislill some pride in the .student in his individual school, he would, in effect, have a stake in what hap- iwned there." On the preventive side, the school systems staff, accord- ing to Ludwig, "is investigat- ing the possibility of convert- ing the school's loudspeaker .system to noise receiver units which could report any loud noises to law enforcement agencies in the area. "We are also considering hiring University of Iowa stu- dents to travel the district checking the buildings and re- porting by radio on any suspi- cious activities. The police have indicated to us they would cooperate in this or any other way that was feasible." But perhaps the oddest method of combating the problem of vandalism is an- other step Ludwig has put In motion. "We strongly suggest to our area legislators that they work toward repeal ol the state's 'no smoking' law for people under the age of 18. "It may seem like this law has nothing to do with vandal- ism problems, or problems of the kids not having pride in their school. But you can't break one law without being cynical about another. "The no smoking law is un- enforceable in the schools. There simply isn't enough personnel for that. On lop of that, students sec teachers smoking and they ask, why them and not us? "Most of all it is a hypocriti- cal law. People who sell ciga- rets don't enforce it, parents in many cases don't enforce it, but they expect the school to enforce it. "So students break this law many times right in front of teachers who look the other way, and they get away with this and it is one easy step to see what they can get away with next. Breaking rules is an on-going process and having a h y p o c r iticai, unenforceable on the books only encour- ages further lawbrcaklng such as vandalism. "If we are going to expect the student to obey the law let us at least have fair laws. Keeping kids from smoking is a parent problem, it should not be a law that is universal- ly ignored a law that leads to cynicism regarding the law. "It is not a terribly large step irom getting away with smoking, to getting away with forms of vandalism. "It we expect the students to obey certain rules let's make the rules fair. And a teacher who smokes standing there telling a student he can't smoke only encourages a cyn- icism we don't need." 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