The news site of Ludlow High School

The Cub

The news site of Ludlow High School

The Cub

The news site of Ludlow High School

The Cub

Vandalism: Stop the Insanity

Illustration by Justin Batista and Richie LaRocque


We’ve seen the damage, the writing on the walls. Lockers busted inwards, water fountain heads broken off, graffiti sprawled across the hallways and corridors.

In all my four years of high school I have never encountered a problem with vandalism that has gotten this far out of hand. Sure, vandalism in high school has always, and probably will always, exist in the high school; but when school bathrooms become closed off to all students, one can only see that these acts are crossing the line.

However, before I progress any further I want to examine why a spike in vandalism is occurring. A member of the LHS community who wished to remain anonymous pointed out an interesting possibility: “Maybe kids are just unhappy.”

When Anonymous said this to me I pressed further, did this come from some sort of insight or was it just a theory being presented?

That’s when Anonymous opened up to me.

“I know I’m unhappy, I know a lot of my friends are too. It’s not easy waking up every morning and coming to school where you feel nothing short of condescending attitudes from faculty and administration. Maybe vandalism is the only way we can get out our anger, maybe we just don’t feel safe or think we’ll be taken seriously, or even listened to.”

I was awestruck at this potential revelation into the reasoning behind the wave of vandalism, but Anonymous refused to answer any further questions. But he did leave me with a final thought: “We don’t get rights here, why bother trying to talk things out?”

Now our attention turns back to what is plaguing the hallways and bathrooms at Ludlow High, the vandals seem to be somewhat consistent in a few ways.

In terms of graffiti there is a distinctive pattern. After reviewing some photographs taken by Cub sports editor Zach Breault and personally visiting some sites, I got a first hand glimpse of what the fuss has been over these past weeks.

One pattern, and probably the majority of graffiti, (at least in terms of scale and consistency), appears to be a reference to a certain member of the custodial staff accompanied by a phallic symbol and a now immortalised slogan, “Can’t Stop ‘Em.”

From my own witnessing, I can remember this being brought up back in September when a friend of mine came back from the bathroom and said, “You guys have to see this.”

What seemed like a small, isolated, juvenile prank has now turned into some sort of LHS boys bathroom phenomenon. Everywhere across the walls this ‘symbol’ can be seen. The custodians have tried to contain these drawings, blotches of the wall are bleach white, but have only been written over yet again by these sketches.

Looking back on what Anonymous shared with me I began to question the theory. If we are to assume that the students involved with this are unhappy and angry, then in what way can we say that these explicit drawings are an attack on the things that seem so oppressive to them? If you were to ask me, I’d say it is a small group of bored students looking for a laugh. However, upon having said that, one can perhaps draw a link between boredom and unhappiness. Perhaps this joke has become a sort of light in the monotony of day-to-day life, a sort of inside laugh giving a sense of camaraderie amongst students as they all take part in the running joke.

But with this fun comes a big price. Taxpayer dollars are being used to clean up the mess. That’s right vandals, your parents are losing money every time you gain your five minutes of laughter. And as administrators form reactionary policies such as closing down the bathrooms to everyone, is it even worth it anymore?

Another constant in the realm of bathroom graffiti comes a surprisingly political element.

Taking a stroll to my journalism class one morning I noticed a message in black that looked hastily written on the end of the bridge that connects the upper E-Wing to the upper B-Wing. Upon closer inspection I was surprised to read the words, “Viva Egypt” — obviously written in relation to the revolution in Egypt that was in its prime at the time the message was reported being seen. I questioned my fellow staff members about it. Nobody had any idea where it came from.

While it’s great to have support and solidarity for the people in Egypt, (you’re looking at the kid that stayed up till the early morning reading over live feeds on multiple news sites on the condition of the revolution), writing a message on a small town high school wall isn’t going to achieve anything.

In the bathrooms near the office of Vice Principal Michael Halpin, I saw a more disturbing trend.

Swastikas, the infamous symbol of the Nazi Party in World War II could be seen in almost every corner and stall. Worse yet, the phrase, “Heil Hitler” was strewn above one of the urinals. What amazed me even further was the fact that some obviously offended individuals actually wrote bitter replies and challenges to the graffiti, often in the form of vulgar language making direct attacks at the Nazi symbology.

At this point in time my head was spinning. It isn’t uncommon for some teenager to think it funny drawing a swastika, but to have a large number of these symbols accompanied by the slogan is disheartening to say the least.

The hallways themselves have not escaped the wave of destruction. Almost every set of lockers seems to have been vandalized in someway, the most common is having the locker panel that separates a group of lockers bashed inwards. It is reminiscent of the vandalism that occurred early this year in relation to the water fountain heads being snapped off.

I know things are hard, I understand there is anger, but I must ask those involved to think about their actions before blindly striking out.

If Anonymous was right in saying that a feeling of hopelessness is behind the vandalism, then I think it is important for those involved to please realize that there are better, more constructive ways to get your point across. This staff has been saying since issue one to organize yourselves if you have a concern that you want voiced. If you have the time to create these murals of graffiti, or the anger to smash a locker, then surely you must have enough time and energy to get a group of like-minded students together and rationally work out ideas that can get your message heard in a non-violent way.

Violent actions always lead to reactionary administration; it will solve nothing but create more problems.

However, in the case of the vandals who are doing it out of personal pleasure, you must realize you are only hurting yourself. Your families will suffer financially for every locker that needs to be replaced, for every wall that needs to be re-coated. Contrary to what you are told you do not attend school for free, the upkeep comes from the taxpayer, not the administration.

The school is already in poor condition, adding to it isn’t helping any. The fact that bathrooms have to be closed off and the fist of the administration is beginning to come down because of this vandalism merely frustrates me and many others.

Words are empty I know, but this cannot continue, people will be caught, money will be spent in repairs, money that never had to be spent in the first place. The last thing we need at this point is more rules and restrictions.

So I come to ask those involved to please: Stop the insanity.

Leave a Comment
About the Contributor
Andrew Lavigne, Photo Editor
Andrew Lavigne is a man of fiery action. As resident revolutionary, his work with various activist groups have made him renowned as the 'liberator of humanity'. He can normally be found in the dark corners of the school, ranting and yelling about some form of injustice. However, don't let these inspired words fool you, his distinct taste of listening to classical music while taking a bubble bath is just a testament to the calm and composed inner mentality that lurks below the fist of the rebel. When he is not writing, ranting, or taking such baths, Andrew can usually be seen playing harmonica and singing along to Irish folk music. With such a varied display of human emotion, Andrew Lavigne is not a man you'll meet everyday; with the cunning wit of James Bond mixed with the rage of a hundred Mel Gibsons, his array of words and moods will leave you seductively charmed.

Comments (0)

All The Cub Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *