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Social Media Used to Catch School Vandals

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Community involvement on social media has been instrumental in catching the perpetrators of vandalism at two local High Schools.


After three people vandalised the Gungahlin high school St John Paul College II in early May, the school took to Facebook to help find the culprits.

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Footage from security footage uploaded to Facebook


The school’s principal Mrs Catherine Rey said there was an overwhelming response to the footage posted online.


“I was really surprised at the power of social media, and I guess it was social media being used for a really great process, because we've had some leads through it”, she said.


As of Thursday the footage has led to the capture of at least one individual. The school is hoping to go through a restorative justice process rather than press charges.


"[It's] really positive that we can have that opportunity through a victim impact statement and discussion with the young person,” Mrs Rey said.


“We can perhaps help them reconsider what they're doing in their life, to not just punish but to help.”


Likewise, Lyneham High experienced similar success with social media. Year 10 Student Shivansh said there was knowledge of footage of the event online.


“They got caught because they were dumb and put it on snapchat,” he said.


Lyneham High had faeces smeared in classrooms, at least a dozen windows smashed, and was partially flooded on election night. As a result, the year 10 cohort was sent to Dickson College for the week whilst repairs went underway.


“It was a nice transition thing for college and it provided experience for next year where we will be going to college,” Shivansh said.


However the vandalism proved to be quite disruptive to Lyneham High, and according to Year 10 Student Valerie, has made the schedule for assessment and reports tighter.


“Multiple assignments were due the following week, and majority of students couldn't get much work done in the new environment. Some teachers were merciful, and allowed extensions; some did not.”


“It caused a push back in schedule for many teachers and students, but that seems to be the only thing still affecting those at Lyneham,” she said.


But community involvement has allowed both schools the opportunity to move forward and focus on education. Principal Rey said that the communities support has helped the school move on from the event, and says the same is true of Lyneham.


"[The community involvement] is an indication that education is valued in Canberra," she said.


"The outcome from social media interest has been fantastic”.


The vandalism incidents do not seem to be connected, and investigations are still ongoing.

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