'This is really disheartening.'

Vandals' school rampage caught on video

By JANE GEORGE

When students arrive Friday, Aug. 8, for their first day of classes at Kugluktuk High School, principal Gary Kennedy hopes the school will be cleaned up.

Sometime during the night of Aug. 3, a group of young mischief makers entered the school.

They entered the kitchen, where they smeared mustard and maple syrup over its newly-waxed floor, Kennedy said.

Then they took down cases of old soda pop, opened the bottles and drained them over the floor. Finally, they threw garbage down the hall.

"They made a mess of the place. It's going to take some three or four hours to clean up. There's stuff everywhere all over the place," he said.

The school's video security camera revealed the identities of the vandals. By Monday, local RCMP members were out looking for them.

Kennedy hoped the kids responsible for the mess will help him clean up the school.

But cleaning up isn't the only challenge Kennedy faces at the start of a new school year.

None of repair work promised for the building, including the installation of secure doors to the library, many new windows and a carpet, were carried out over the summer.

"I sort of knew they weren't going to be done, but to be set back like this is really disheartening," Kennedy said. "Now, our efforts are being pushed back because youth are breaking in and making more of a mess."

Frustrated last year about the lack of progress in making repairs, Kennedy seems doomed to endure the same state of mind this year.

But Kennedy vows the school will still open in good shape Friday.

"For all those students that do attend on a regular basis we're going to give them everything that we have," he said. "It's just frustrating that no one else is giving us what the students deserve. We can't even get regular repairs done, let alone have things fixed when youth come in and doing more damage."

Last spring, Kennedy said various Government of Nunavut employees told him damages due to vandalism and wear-and-tear were "unacceptable" and repairs are at the "top of list."

The Kugluktuk high school already battles high rates of absenteeism among its 150 students, which it tries to reduce through the Kuguktuk Grizzlies sports programs and other incentives.

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