The cost spent repairing vandalism in schools across Scotland in the last five years has reached almost £5m, new figures show.
A freedom of information request revealed that in 2022/23 alone £690,280 has been spent repairing malicious damage in secondary, primary and special schools.
In the 2021/22 school year, £1,167,683 was spent on vandalism repairs, taking the total to £4,961,189 over the last five years.
However, the total figure is thought to be higher as 10 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities did not respond to the request for data.
Stephen Kerr, the Scottish Conservative’s education spokesman, accused the Scottish Government of “inexcusable indifference” towards the state of schools amid the “staggering” data.
He said: “It’s disgraceful that already scarce resources are having to be spent on repairing damage to schools caused by mindless vandals.
“These louts should be ashamed of themselves – but the need for such expensive repairs poses the question as to why the SNP Government have not ensured our schools are properly safeguarded and protected in the first place.
“We need effective CCTV systems to act as both a deterrent and a means of identifying and punishing offenders.
“The staggering cost of vandalism is further evidence of the SNP’s inexcusable indifference to the state of Scotland’s schools.”
He went on to urge education secretary Jenny Gilruth to “get to grips” with the issue, adding: “Vandals must know that the full weight of the law is there to deal with this destructive, anti-social behaviour.
“But this problem is just another symptom of the decline in education on the SNP’s watch.
“Whether it’s Scotland tumbling down international league tables, broken promises to eradicate the attainment gap or increasing violence towards teachers, the nationalists’ record is shameful.”
However, the education secretary expressed her “deep concern” about Kerr’s “ridiculous name calling”.
A spokesperson for Gilruth said: “The education secretary is deeply concerned that the Conservative spokesperson for education has described Scottish school pupils as ‘louts’.
“We certainly do not need CCTV in our schools watching our children, as the Conservatives appear to be implying.
“The education secretary wants to work with Scotland’s children and young people – she will leave the ridiculous name calling to the Conservatives, whose behaviour in this press release alone evidences why they should be nowhere near making decisions on Scottish education.”
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