Relentless vandalism from students has forced Campbell High School to post staff as guards on its toilets, and lock students out if none are available.
Principal John Manders relayed the news in his Friday weekly report to parents, sighted by Region, along with an update that the toilets will be upgraded over the Christmas break.
Mr Manders told parents that over the past three weeks the “behaviours in the toilets and the vandalism has reached such a crescendo that by 3 pm no functioning cubicles remain”.
He said the school had already employed many low-level strategies to no avail so he had been forced to escalate the response.
“This escalation will involve continual executive staff presence around the entrances during the day, the locking of toilets (keys can be collected from student services in emergencies) when I can’t guarantee staff surveillance, as well as more severe consequences and direct communication to families from me if a student is caught engaging in these destructive behaviours,” Mr Manders said.
“Students will be able to access a supervised toilet in the front office in emergencies.”
Mr Manders said he hoped this would be a short-term measure.
The condition of the toilets appear to be a long-running issue at the school and has preoccupied Mr Manders’ time since he became principal three weeks ago.
He told parents they had been his greatest day-to-day challenge since accepting the position.
“I am sure that this will come as no surprise for many of you and I would be even more surprised if this topic has never been raised by your sons or daughters,” he told parents.
“The good news I can share is that during the Christmas break our toilets will be remodelled and fully refurbished.
“It is our goal to have most of this work completed while students are away but even our best projections will mean there will be some inconvenience and work still to occur during the early stages of Term 1.”
An Education Directorate spokesperson said vandalism incidents occurred from time to time across the school system, and were managed by schools on a case-by-case basis.
ACT public schools were well resourced to deal with student behaviour and vandalism but they could seek additional support and expertise when required.
The spokesperson said the Directorate also worked closely with schools to manage infrastructure, including maintenance and upgrades.
The tender process for the forthcoming upgrade would close soon.
“Publication of the estimated costs may risk prejudicing the tender process, but the Directorate has ensured sufficient funding has been allocated for the project,” the spokesperson said.
The toilets had not been upgraded since 2006-2007 as part of a major refurbishment program.