CLOVIS, N.M. (KRQE) – Vandals are targeting school playgrounds, causing a problem that could cost one school district a lot of money.
If it doesn’t stop, the playgrounds could close for good.
“Well, they’re constantly asking, ‘Why don’t we get to play on the equipment?’ or ‘Why are they doing that to our playground?'” principal Laura Adkins said.
Running around to play tag and trying to catch butterflies makes for a typical day at the playground. But those days may be coming to an end for awhile because of vandals who are ruining the playground.
“They’ve used knives, they’ve used different things to cut it up and tear up the fall surface,” Carrie Bunce, Deputy Superintendent of Operations, said.
The rubber play surfaces installed just a few years ago are being uprooted. Now, the Clovis School District has to make room in its budget for this unexpected expense.
“The fall surfaces themselves, per playground, cost around $200,000 to put in,” Bunce said.
The Clovis Municipal School’s insurance requires them to have a safe surface to brace a child’s fall, but for half of the schools, this safety net is being targeted.
“Eventually, we’ll just have to lose the playgrounds themselves and our schools won’t have the playgrounds anymore,” Bunce said.
The school playground is currently open for public use and although the school system does not want to close its play area to the public, there may not be another option if this continues.
“Yes, we want families to enjoy our playgrounds, but we just ask that you protect them and treat them like your own yard, not like where you just ruin them for everybody,” Principal Adkins said.
Each of the repairs costs in the thousands.
The district does have security camera footage of the vandals, but the night-time video is too dark.