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Gang-related graffiti covered walls, trees at Tokay High School

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Posted: Thursday, September 15, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 1:41 pm, Thu Sep 15, 2011.

Vulgarities and gang terms scrawled on trees, walls and buildings greeted students and faculty at Tokay High School as school began earlier this week.

“F___ Scraps” was written in black spray paint on about 75 percent of the school’s buildings sometime Monday evening, said Tammy Foley, principal secretary at the high school. “Scrap” is a derogatory term for members of the Sureño street gang, the rival of the Norteños.

The campus regularly experiences vandalism and the majority of the graffiti was removed by Tuesday afternoon, but district officials and campus employees said they are searching for ways to reduce the consistency of it. A history teacher at the high school, Joe Johnson, wants the district to consider leaving lights on the campus all night long to deter vandalism.

“I understand the mindset that the district is trying to save money by turning the lights on campus off at night, but those savings have to be offset by regularly having to clean up graffiti,” he said.

The debate on turning the lights off or leaving them on is constant, said Lodi Unified facilities and maintenance chief Art Hand, but the district is leaning towards keeping them off for now.

“One school of thought is that if you make it bright it will scare people off,” he said. “The other is that if you keep it dark they will have to bring their own lights in when they are vandalizing and people in the area will see them.”

The savings from keeping the lights off are not lost by having to do occasional graffiti abatement, Hand said. However, he did concede Tokay has been a more consistent target in recent years.

“Tokay has been a subject of substantive graffiti,” Hand said. “But the last few times it’s been more pornographic than gang-related.”

Previous taggings have been of genitalia and inappropriate words, he said.

When it comes to cleaning up the graffiti, the campus maintenance crew sands away and paints over the vandalism, Foley said. If the school can pinpoint who is responsible for the defacement, they will be given a bill and made to pay restitution, she said.

If the district cannot recover costs from the vandalism, it comes from  maintenance and operational funds, said Tim Hern, chief business officer for the Lodi Unified School District.

Contact reporter Jordan Guinn at jordang@lodinews.com.

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  • William Dawes posted at 8:41 pm on Thu, Sep 15, 2011.

    William Dawes Posts: 113

    Even with cameras, it is hard to catch these guys. Better for the district to buy a pressure washer that uses sand to blast the paint off.

    I think I saw the same tag, by the same person, on the wood fence on Hutchins, south of Century

    Also teachers should keep their eyes on student planners for clues. But most don't.

  • Raymond Cook posted at 6:32 pm on Thu, Sep 15, 2011.

    Raymond Cook Posts: 125

    I agree with you Kevin.

    A Police Officer and a Poilce dog sure would be nice too, but we all know City and School budgets will not allow for that.

  • Raymond Cook posted at 6:31 pm on Thu, Sep 15, 2011.

    Raymond Cook Posts: 125

    Hi Joanne:

    Thank you for allowing me to clarify my so-called "Blanket accusation regarding President Obama refusing to deport illegals.

    WASHINGTON (The Blaze/AP) —

    August 18, 2011

    The Obama administration said Thursday it will allow many illegal immigrants facing deportation the chance to stay in this country and apply for a work permit, while focusing on removing from the U.S. convicted criminals and those who might be a national security or public safety threat.


    You will disagree with whatever facts I present to you, Joanne, but thats okay, I accept that.

    Bottom line is many gang members are illegal be they red or blue gangs. The less we have in Lodi, Calif. and the U.S. the better.

    You are free to disagree with the above statement.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 3:07 pm on Thu, Sep 15, 2011.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 1880

    I would think a suitable security system would be a better solution than having lights on. Not only will it catch the vandals but it can also be helpful in some of the other things that go on there, like the garbage can fires.

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 12:55 pm on Thu, Sep 15, 2011.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4308

    Which refusal would that be, Mr. Cook? Explain instead of making blanket accusations.

  • Raymond Cook posted at 8:22 am on Thu, Sep 15, 2011.

    Raymond Cook Posts: 125

    Those who Spray Grafitti love to brag about where they have tagged. The "Code of silence" among teens keeps gangs and other taggers alive and well, putting a $$$$$ drain on schools, Businesses and Homeowners.

    School budgets are very tight but I would install the highest quality video cameras in the widest areas possible. Banks have crystal clear cameras, and the schools should too.

    REFUSAL by President Obama to enforce immigration Federal Law is what is causing a large amount of Criminal Acitivity among certain ethnic groups.



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