Pupils dismayed as school garden wrecked by thugs

Vandals have wreaked destruction across a school garden by smashing fences, tearing up plants and daubing spray paint on the walls.

Friday, 24th October 2014, 12:45 pm
Pupils were shocked at damage to garden. Picture: Lesley Martin

Stunned staff at St Ninian’s Primary School, in Restalrig Road South, returned from the half-term break on Monday to find offenders had smashed two windows and reduced the garden to debris.

Headteacher Angie Brack said the children were “shocked” by the damage, which will cost more than £500 to repair and could put the garden out of action for months.

Mrs Brack said: “It’s just really sad for everyone. We have worked so hard to get the children to be able to use the garden. We are so disappointed that it has happened and we want everyone to be made aware of the damage done.”

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The “edible” garden – which only opened in June – had been created so pupils could learn about growing their own food and included a polytunnel built by staff to protect the plants from the winter weather.

The vandals ripped the plastic off the polytunnel and jumped on the roof of the sheds, while the children’s prized Hallowe’en pumpkins and crops of tomatoes had been crushed and smeared around the garden.

On Wednesday staff also discovered graffiti scrawled across a wall and two smashed windows.

Mrs Brack, who has taught at the school since 1997, said: “I’ve been here a long time and I don’t remember there being this level of vandalism ever before. A lot of the children were shocked by the whole thing and asked me ‘Why would somebody do that?’

“It’s quite difficult to explain to them in a way that doesn’t make them worry.”

The school hopes to rebuild the garden but it will need to find funding for the project.

This latest incident is similar to vandalism that happened at Craigentinny Community Centre last year, said local councillor Alex Lunn.

Cllr Lunn, who represents Craigentinny and Duddingston ward, said: “I’m very deeply disappointed by the damage to the school. However, I know several of the parents and staff at the school very well and they are resilient. We will overcome this and rebuild the garden.”

Security is being reviewed at the primary school and the garden has been roped off until it has been checked. Councillor Paul Godzik, city education convener, said: “It is disheartening that anyone would want to vandalise the garden, particularly as it is such a well-loved part of the school property which students and staff have worked build and maintain.

“The council is now working with the primary school to look into security options which might help to prevent further or repeat damage, and the school is working with the police to investigate the incidents that have taken place.”

A spokeswoman confirmed police are investigating the damage.