Selma schools spring for extra security

FRESNO, Calif.

District officials say, over the past year, they've spent $30,000 in repairs and replacement costs. And they plan to spend even more money this year in hopes of preventing another break-in.

The gates surrounding Eric White Elementary school in Selma are always locked whenever school is out. Still, that hasn't stopped vandals from causing thousands of dollars' worth of damage.

"Broken windows, in some cases, they got on the roof and tore the shingles off, painting on the doors, just delinquent kind of things," Assistant Superintendent Larry Teixeira said.

He says, between June 2010 and July of this year Eric White has been hit 30 times. In some of those cases, students have been caught in the act.

"How young are these kids doing this?" "Fifth and sixth graders," Teixeira said. But, officials haven't been able to take down each and every vandal.

That's why the district is spending $7,000 to install four security cameras on campus. "From this vantage point, they can see all the way down both directions."

The district has also hired a private security team to monitor all eleven of its sites this upcoming year at a cost of nearly $30,000.

Russ Mitchell teaches math at Selma High School. Last spring, criminals broke into his classroom, and nine others. They stole video equipment and technology hardware but nothing out of Mitchell's class.

"Yeah they just broke in, took stuff out of my desk, threw it on the floor and that was basically it," Mitchell said.

With new measures now in place, schools officials say they hope vandals will think twice before striking again. "It's very very frustrating. That could buy a part-time teacher, it can buy a classroom for the computers, it can buy a lot of instructional material."

Selma's Police Chief says officers will be driving by campuses more often, especially at night.

As for the cameras, district officials say they will consider buying more if they're needed.

Copyright © 2019 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.