Vandalism prompts new identification system in RCS

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News 12 First at Five, January 4, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga. - Wheeless Road Elementary School Principal Joe Moore can't believe vandals caused $30,000 worth of damage to his school.

"Vandals completely destroyed our air conditioning system," he said as he pointed to broken pieces of metal still lying on the ground.

"It's just a tremendous cost to our taxpayers for something like this to happen," Moore adds, as he shakes his head in disappointment.

On top of that, it's not the first time Wheeless Road Elementary has been struck by vandals.

"In August the compressor in the gym was taken by vandals," Moore explains.

Costing you -- taxpayers -- another $20,000. A total of $50,000 --and that's just at one school.

Across town at Dorothy Hines Elementary, News 12 told you about walls being burned and doors kicked in, But, the bigger issue is the circulation computer that was taken.

"It's upsetting," says Principal Sophia Cogle,"but it's more a detriment to us than for anything else."

The last four digits of every students' social security number were on that computer. But Principal Cogle says there's no need to worry because the thieves won't be able to get to that information easily.

"They have so many passwords to go through in order to access anything and you'd have to utilize the school server to put out any information and if you do that then of course that person would be caught," says Cogle.

Replacing the equipment and damage at Dorothy Hines Elementary could cost you another $30,000.

Principal Moore says he wishes people respected school property instead of destroying it.

"It's just very disappointed," says Moore, "apparently schools are very vunerable."

Richmond County Superintendent Dr. Dana Bedden says he's working on having all schools in Richmond County use random identification numbers for students. These new numbers will not have any connect ion to their social security number, so that if computers are stolen in the future, identity theft won't be an issue.

Some schools already use these numbers, but Dr. Bedden says soon all of them will.