An Incident of Vandalism

It really upsets me that I now have to write yet another vandalism related post – the THIRD in the last 6 months.

At some point during our Tuesday classes this Tuesday (19th March), an act of vandalism has occurred AGAIN in our gymnast toilet. Please see the attached picture. This is now the third incident within the last 6 months to report. Each time, the incident has been different but still, our club and its fantastic facility has been defaced and partially ruined.

From piecing together what may have happened, we know that this vandaliser is not a gymnast. As the cloakroom is now through the parents’ lounge, there is no way that a gymnast could have kept a writing implement in their possession during their session due to the physical nature of gymnastics and the different activities the gymnasts do. Therefore, we are assuming that this has been done by a younger sibling/child who has been waiting for a gymnast in the parents’ lounge. The height of the graffiti suggests that the child is less than 7 years old. The writing implement used seems to be a blue or green crayon or pen. As you can see from the picture, the markings represent clear letters which suggests that the child is of a school age. They are not, however, completely correctly formed which indicates that the child may be in reception or year 1. Having said that, there may be some children of a nursery age who are able to make clear marks that represent letters so we can’t rule out younger children.

Without pointing the finger too much, the above scenario has only happened because an adult has not supervised the child fully whilst waiting in the parents’ lounge. Although I am not a parent myself, I do understand that children (particularly of that age) are very quick and can persist to do something, especially when they want to do it. However, in this particular case, an adult has not supervised a child which has resulted in the child wandering from the parents’ lounge, into an unknown space to them, gone into the toilet cubicle itself and then go onto draw on the walls. As a teacher myself, I know how long it takes a child of this age to write something like this so I can only assume that an adult has been distracted by something else to not notice that the child has gone for quite a prolonged period of time. This has to stop.

Moving forward, we have decided to implement the following things:
• The door between the parents’ lounge and the area leading towards the gym will be closed and only opened during times of a session starting and finishing. During this time, a coach will be standing on the door.
• Adults who choose to stay in the parents’ lounge with younger children must maintain full supervision throughout their time within the facility.
• If a child waiting in the parents’ lounge requires to use the toilet, the accompanying adult must take them to the visitors’ toilet and supervise them fully. Once the child has finished, as the accompanying adult, please check the toilet to ensure that the toilet is as you found it.
• If you notice any behaviour that makes you feel uncomfortable including any behaviours that go against the details stated above, please speak to a coach or message our Facebook page.

I am afraid to say that if this behaviour continues and another incident is logged, we will have no choice but to CLOSE both lounges and ask that you wait for the gymnasts in other locations. We are very proud of our facility and will not have it ruined.

I cannot begin to tell you how heartbroken we are that yet another person who is ASSOCIATED with our club wants to directly or indirectly ruin our fantastic facility and the experience for all of our other hardworking, dedicated gymnasts. Our gymnastics facility is one of the best in our county and another child deems it appropriate to vandalise something that doesn’t belong to them. I completely understand that this may have been a genuine mistake and an adult may not have even realised that the child they are supervising has done this but unfortunately, it is us that has to pick up the pieces again.

If you have any questions relating to the above, please do not hesitate to contact me.