Parents Philana Tessun and Carmen Kirkland are upset that it took the school district nearly two weeks to clean up vulgar graffiti at Central elementary. Some of it was located where they're sitting

Parents Philana Tessun and Carmen Kirkland are upset that it took the school district nearly two weeks to clean up vulgar graffiti at Central elementary. Some of it was located where they're sitting

Delay in graffiti removal prompts parent complaints

Chilliwack, Central elementary school, school district 33, graffiti

When vulgar graffiti showed up on Central elementary a week ago, parents thought for sure it would be removed immediately.

They were wrong.

It took the school district a full week to remove profane messages spray painted on the school building and benches.

Central parents believe if it were any other school, the graffiti would have been removed immediately.

“Without a doubt if it was another school it would have been cleaned up right away,” said Philana Tessun, who has two children attending Central. “But because it’s Central, because we’re in the downtown core, we’re treated less, like we’re second class. And that’s not right.”

Carmen Kirkland, who also has two children attending Central, was aghast when she first saw the messages.

“These are not words our kids should be reading,” Kirkland said on Tuesday morning when the graffiti was still present. “Why is it still there? Why hasn’t it been cleaned up? This should have been taken care of as soon as possible.”

In an email to The Progress, superintendent Michael Audet said the district’s general practice is to remove graffiti within 24 hours of it showing up – especially when it includes “profanity or language harmful to students.”

But for Central, instead of painting over the graffiti, the maintenance department applied a chemical remover, which didn’t work.

On Tuesday, they took secondary measures with an abrasive that did work.

Not soon enough for some in the community.

When the graffiti first appeared, a teacher had taped a garbage bag over it to try and shield students from the words. The garbage bag was ripped down within a day.

On a local blog, Central students expressed their dismay.

One student wrote that she was disgusted and no longer felt safe in her school.

“It gives the school a bad reputation,” she wrote. “When parents come to school with their kids, who are still very young, it makes them think ‘wow, what kind of community would do something like that.’

“It doesn’t make the school feel like a safe place like it should.”

kbartel@theprogress.com

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