LAVEEN, AZ - A Valley neighborhood is fed up with vandalism at their community park — and they think the nearby high school is to blame.
Residents living in the Paseo Pointe community say some of the vandals who are damaging their neighborhood parks have been identified as students from Betty Fairfax High Sschool.
The community block watch lead, who asked us not to identify him, said he had written to the school principal multiple times asking them to help address some of their concerns.
"The students tend to come to our park, they migrate here and just hang out, use drugs, deal drugs, have sex on our playground equipment, tag our playground equipment. There is graffiti on the tables right now," the man said.
ABC15 noted graffiti on every picnic table under the gazebos, graffiti on the concrete pathways, and graffiti on the children's playground equipment as well.
Residents say they've spent thousands of dollars to clean-up the mess.
Josepth Shoars moved into the community about five years ago. He said the problem seemed to be getting worse.
"Recently we're also seeing automobile break-ins and home invasions," said Shoars.
He said he wanted to ask these students why they they're destroying their community.
ABC15 took their concerns to the Phoenix Union School District. A spokesman sent us a statement saying:
I just spoke with our Principal, Mr. Wooley, and while he has been aware of some neighborhood complaints over the past few years, he has not heard about this particular issue. He has heard complaints that kids hang out at this park, but has not heard of any trash or graffiti, and none recently. He talked to his SRO and other administrators and there has not been anyone reaching out to them, from the neighborhood. The individual you mentioned has contacted the school in the past, maybe three or four years ago, but they have not heard from him, recently.
Obviously, we want to be good neighbors, and are more than willing to work with this neighbor, and respond to any issues in the neighborhood, involving our students (who come from the same neighborhoods).
In fact, the neighborhood homeowners associations meet in the school’s community room for free…They met there last night.
And Mr. Wooley is a Laveen resident himself.
Mr. Wooley added that Wendy Ensminger, the President of the LAHOA (Laveen Association of HOA’s) told him the only mention from Paseo Point about Fairfax High School was a compliment about how we were working with them. That was sometime in July. They held an LAHOA meeting in our community room last night and there was no mention of these claims."
Residents dispute the school district claims that this is the first time they are hearing these concerns.
"Check your emails. We have been voicing these concerns and opinions for some time now," said Shoars.
"Their whole take on the matter is, and we even heard this from the school resource officer at a community meeting last night, that they are to deal with their students within the realm of their campus," said the concerned father.
Residents hoped they could sit down with the school district and local police to find out who to keep their community, and their parks free from crime, drugs, and the eyesore graffiti left behind by the vandals.