Batavia students will be greeted with safer buildings next year after a series of break-ins and vandalism incidents this year prompted the school board to contract for security systems in all three buildings.
Barbara Bradley, Superintendent, said that the last straw came after the second break-in. However, students of Batavia Elementary were treated to a day off school Wednesday after a third break-in closed the school down, just two days after the board voted to buy security cameras.
“We had someone enter the building and do a lot of rummaging, but not a lot of damage,” said Bradley. “We don’t know what was taken yet. We have the teachers in doing inventories of their rooms to see if anything is missing or damaged.”
The investigation is continuing into just who broke into the building, and why. Currently, it is not known if anything was taken, or if the incident was merely exploratory. However, it did, said Bradley, highlight the need for video surveillance equipment.
School was canceled for that building due to the length of time needed for the preliminary investigation.
"School has been canceled, but only because the kids would have arrived at 11, plus our cooks would not have had enough time to prepare lunch," said Bradley. "This is our third breaking and entering (this year). This is a safe community, and it's a shame that things like this happen."
Bradley said that the incident was sad for many reasons, one of which is the damage it does to the image of a building that is primarily charged with educating and protecting small children. While the schools are safe during the day, Bradley said that more effort will be made to ensure they are safe at night as well.
"We're disappointed that someone would come in and do damage to the facility that is a hub of activity in the village," said Bradley. "Our doors are all locked, all the time, for safety, but always open figuratively to the public. Our staff and student are aware of safety issues, so during the day we're very safe. These incidents have always happened in the evening."
Anyone with information regarding the incident is encouraged to call the Batavia Police Department at (513) 732-5692.