"Winter cleaning" at Butler High School

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News 12 First at Five, November 8, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga. - Already this school year, one Richmond County high school has been vandalized and set on fire. Now it's getting some much-needed attention from the man in charge. Superintendent Dr. Dana Bedden says Butler High needs to be cleaned from the inside out.

Surveillance video of Butler High School showed 2 teenagers vandalizing classrooms, scattering papers and breaking windows. It's the type of thing Dr. Bedden says he won't tolerate.

"We need parents to hold their children accountable when they damage the facility. We need the community when they see people on the property who shouldn't be there to call the police or the Richmond County Board of Police so that we can take care of property," said Bedden.

Replacing damaged property is costing you taxpayer money. Officers estimate $50,000 worth of damage was done at Butler during this year's vandalism. So, Dr. Bedden is having the outside fixed up -- and the inside.

"A parent shared with me some concerns about the cleanliness of Butler and asked if I could come visit. So, I met the mayor on a saturday and was quite disappointed with what I saw," said Bedden.

Dr. Bedden saw ceiling tiles that needed to be replaced after someone started a fire in the school and floors that needed to be cleaned and waxed. Bedden says he was disappointed.

"Disappointed and somewhat disgusted by what I was able to see. Environment influences attitude and we want to provide an environment in which students are able to think about quality and that they matter," said Bedden.

Three thousand square feet of the school are in especially bad shape. It'll take 2000 hours to complete the cleaning and repairs. But Bedden says -- for the students -- it's worth it.

"I hope our students or children will say,'I like it like this and I want to make sure people don't tear down my school because I don't want to go to school in a dirty environment," said Bedden optimistically.

Langford Middle School also did not meet maintenance standards. Both Butler High School and Langford Middle will be cleaned within the next two weeks.

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