September 30, 2021
Eliminating vandalism in our washrooms
Antisocial behaviour can come in many different forms, whether its applying spray paint or other paint products, through to damage of equipment or facilities within the building. However; when we look back to the source of the vandalism, it can sometimes be traced back to the fact that students saw something was broken already so didn’t mind causing more damage. This links to the ‘Broken Windows’ theory.
The theory (put forward in America in the 1980s by Professor James Wilson and George Kelling) states that if a broken window is not repaired the other windows will eventually be broken as well. This happens because a broken window sends out a message that no-one cares – that there is no consequence to committing the vandalism.
This theory applies to the washrooms in your school. It only takes one pupil to kick a dispenser or scribble graffiti on a cubicle wall. This gives the permission for others to vandalise, thinking there will get away with it. Graffiti can then escalate to broken doors, flooded sinks and expensive repairs.
Alternatively it can be down to frustrated users who have realised a dispenser is empty whilst using the facilities.
- If possible, you should have the cubicles made of anti-vandal panels. CGL (Compact Grade Laminate) panels are almost impossible to break. They are also scratch resistant and waterproof so cleaning off writing is easy.
- Remove any graffiti as soon as possible to stop it spreading.
- Lockable toilet roll holders and hand towel dispensers are essential, as well as durable locks and push button taps to help minimise vandalism.
- Install more durable dispensers that are higher capacity, to help address the issues at the source.
Vandalism can also cast a bad image for visitors and parents who are coming to the school which could lead to a drop in good reputation, which as we all know is never easy to rebuild.
Plan of action
- Dispenser run outs are often the cause of vandalism, so install high capacity dispensers as a long term solution.
- Ensure your dispensers are lockable.
- Change your dispensers for a more durable solution.