December 10, 2015 - 1:00 PM
LUMBY - There are many perks to an outdoor classroom, but there are some downsides too, as a group of Lumby high school students have learned.
A group of Charles Bloom Secondary students enrolled in the school’s unique forestry program headed up to their woodlot Dec. 8 to find their equipment vandalized and their picnic area burned and strewn with beer bottles.
“We were all just really shocked,” grade 12 student Michelle Britch says.
The hydraulic oil filter on a piece of heavy equipment was punctured full of holes, causing oil to spill out. The air release hose was also cut and the machine’s seat damaged. The area where the class conducts safety meetings was also hit by the vandals, who burnt a chair and picnic table, leaving quite a mess.
“I would like to understand why,” Britch says. “This is children’s education, this is how we’re teaching our students the outdoor trades that we aren’t able to teach in school. If they (vandals) could respect what we’re trying to do and understand this is school property, and that this is our way of learning, that would be very helpful.”
It’s not the first time the forestry program has had trouble with vandalism, but it is the worst so far. Forestry teacher Martin Tooms says it’s the second incident in the last month, and like his students, he’s getting tired of it.
“It costs us in down time and money,” Tooms says. “The other day cost us $160 in parts, then there’s the time going to town and the cleanup.”
The aftermath takes away from precious hands on teaching time, and drains what funds the program generates through firewood sales.
Britch adds that one of the best parts of the program is getting to use real equipment, but she’s worried that ongoing vandalism could impact the hands on component of the course.
“If things get damaged to a heavy extent, we don’t necessarily know if our future classes will be able to use the equipment, because it will either be not safe or will take time to repair,” Britch says.
Anyone with information about the vandalism is asked to contact the school at 250-547-2191.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015