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School vandalism figures prompt 'better security' call

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The Scottish Conservatives have called for better security in schools after it was revealed that more than £1m was spent on repairing vandalism last year.

Damage included smashed windows, graffiti and stolen metal, according to figures obtained by the party through freedom of information laws.

The total could be higher as some councils did not provide figures.

The Scottish government said any vandalism in schools was "totally unacceptable".

The bill for repairs was highest in Fife, where £158,000 was spent, followed by Aberdeen (£143,000), Falkirk (£122,000) and North Lanarkshire (£119,000).

Several councils, including Scotland's largest - Glasgow - said they were unable to supply figures.

'Fair game'

Scottish Conservative chief whip John Lamont said: "Vandalism of any kind is completely unacceptable, but to inflict schools with this type of behaviour is even worse.

"These are supposed to be places of learning for future generations, but instead too many criminals see them as fair game for hooliganism.

"There is also a cost to the taxpayer, and that is money that could be reinvested in a far better way, not least in education.

"Perhaps security could be improved in these schools to ensure money can be saved in the long term."

A Scottish government spokeswoman said: "The overwhelming majority of pupils in Scotland's schools are generally well-behaved.

"However, any vandalism inflicted on schools is totally unacceptable and we continue to work with schools, local authorities and through curriculum programmes to improve behaviour and respect in schools further."

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A spokesman for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) said: "Sadly, schools are no different to other buildings or areas in that there is, on occasion, some vandalism.

"However this has to be seen in the context of the number of children in our schools and the number of people who access them in terms of using them as a community facility.

"There are over 700,000 pupils in our schools and on the whole violence and vandalism is rare.

"However, councils have procedures and policies in place for dealing with both when they occur.

"Schools in Scotland are generally extremely safe and pleasant places for our young children to undertake their learning experience."

Source - Scottish Conservative Party

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