New Policy Would Make School Vandals Liable

Common pranks, from pouring glue into keyholes to spray painting graffiti on walls, will no longer be tolerated by Capistrano Unified School District.

At least that's the message district officials want to send with the preliminary approval Monday of a policy that will make vandals pay for any damage they cause.

"This policy has teeth in it, and we even deleted the reference to community service," Supt. James A. Fleming said, explaining that students and parents must now pay for vandalism damages.

Traditionally, the district would punish student vandals by suspending or expelling them. But with costs rising, the district said it needs to seek monetary restitution. Grades, diplomas and transcripts could be withheld until full restitution has been recovered.

Although Capistrano's insurance company covers vandalism costs above $125,000 or $100,000 for computers, the district must pay for smaller incidents out of its general fund.

Final approval of the new policy is expected at the district's June 22 meeting.

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