For the first time in twelve weeks, I missed the deadline for Occupy Blogosphere Thursday. I had half-written a post and intended to finish it when The Artist and I returned from school. But something disturbing happened there and our evening was taken up with analysing it and deciding what to do.
Around five o’clock each evening, when most of the staff and pupils have left, a group of youths and teenage girls creep back to an enclosed grass area, outside the classrooms that we clean. They scramble up onto the long flat roof; where they vandalise computer network cabling and smash skylights, threatening to throw lighted cigarettes into the corridor below. If they catch us looking through a window they shout insults, make rude gestures and yank their tracksuit bottoms down to ‘moon’ us. Then yell that we are ‘looking at them funny.’ It’s not funny.
They weren’t quite so keen on winter nights, but now the days are getting longer they’re back in force – daring each other to climb higher, shin down drainpipes, leap into mid-air. I try my hardest not to – but I foresee disaster.
We’ve reported this many times and been told that, as nothing can be done we should ignore them. Last evening we mentioned it to a teacher – who peered through the blinds, told us that they had damaged his car twice already; that one lad, in particular, was a nasty piece of work, that he was very sorry, but he there was no way he was going to approach them. And he strongly advised that we should avoid them too.
My man and I were spooked enough to argue about it on the way home – and, these days, that rarely happens. It’s not on. We sat and talked it through and have a plan. Given that the people we’ve already reported our concerns to seem powerless, we intend to take it further – as far as needs be, to get something done. And we’ve already told our supervisor that we’ll work anywhere but in that area – not because we’re intimidated but to re-in force how seriously this matter has become and how determined we are to carry our complaint through.
We shouldn’t have to do this – we have a right to work in safety, our employers have a duty to ensure that. But the Education System – particularly in this school – is currently in chaos. As is every other community service – health, police, housing, welfare etc.
This has to be resolved – but it will never be, as long as we continue to accept the current situation. We’re not accepting it.
I’ll let you know how we get on.