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NORWALK-LA MIRADA : Parents May Be Billed for School Vandalism

July 07, 1994|PSYCHE PASCUAL

Norwalk-La Mirada school officials, fed up with hefty costs of cleaning up after vandals, want to start sending the bills to parents of students caught spraying graffiti or inflicting other damage on school property.

The school board tentatively decided last week to bill parents for damages to help recover thousands of dollars spent to repair classroom damage caused by vandals, school board President Rudy Bermudez said. The board is scheduled to adopt the vandalism policy July 18, he said.

Some districts have already turned to parents to make up the difference. Two years ago, the Downey Unified School District adopted a similar policy under a state law that gives schools the authority to charge up to $10,000 in repair bills to parents.

Under their policy, Downey administrators can bill parents for damages after a student is expelled or suspended for vandalism, said Stanley Hanstad, director of pupil services.

Hanstad said most parents agree to pay for damages, but administrators also have the authority to sue parents who refuse. Student transcripts, diplomas and other records can be withheld until a parent pays the bill.

Last year, the Downey school system collected $20,000 from parents, about half of the damage traced to students, Hanstad said.

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