Vandal who wrecked £20,000 Blackrod play area makes amends by helping out at school
A YOB who vandalised a new £20,000 play area at his former primary is making amends — by helping at the school.
Pupils and staff at Blackrod Church School were left devastated when safety flooring on the school’s new play area was burnt and graffiti was daubed on equipment during the summer holidays.
But school staff turned detective and handed over photographs taken of young people hanging around the school to police.
Police community support officer Kevin Blakemore, from Bolton North Neighbourhood Policing Team, made enquiries and was able to identify the boy responsible.
He said: “The youth admitted it when I spoke to him. He explained he didn’t realise the damage he had caused. He hadn’t thought of the impact the damage had on the school.”
The boy had not been in trouble previously. The police and school agreed the best course of action would be to use restorative justice.
PCSO Blakemore said: “The 15-year-old is now volunteering at the school each week helping with general maintenance and cleaning. He will go once a week until the end of term and has already started.
“He is very embarrassed about what he has done. The restorative justice has had more of an impact on him as he is humiliated and he is known in the area.”
Headteacher James Royal thanked PCSO Blakemore for finding the person responsible and praised the teenager for his determination to right his wrong.
He said: “We consider one of the most important parts of our work in school is to help children make good independent choices. While we are obviously very unhappy about the damage, we feel much credit is due to the young person to want to go some way to resolve the problems caused. While the restorative justice programme won't directly replace the damaged items, it will be very hard work and is absolutely the correct thing to do to encourage young people to take responsibility for their behaviour and that also includes knowing what to do when things go wrong.”
The playground opened in June and was funded through an Awards for All Lottery grant, the school’s Parents Teachers Friends Association, the Horwich Rotary Club and the Methodist Church. Children and parents also took part in sponsored activities.
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