Vandals must know graffiti penalties
TO THE EDITORS:
This letter is in response to the Jan. 27 letter from Brian Lehman, Art Department superintendent of the Hempfield School District, regarding courses on graffiti.
Whether graffiti is "art'' is debatable. Don't art departments have anything better to teach?
That point aside, however, the message needs to come from Mr. Lehman and elsewhere in the schools -- art classes and others -- that graffiti in unauthorized locations, such as public or private property of any kind is sheer vandalism.
In case parents don't bother -- but even if a few do -- art departments and civics courses need to drum that point home to students, including specific descriptions of penalties before the law, with stern warnings of "No, you aren't cool if you smear -- tag -- someone else's property'' and "Don't think that you won't be caught.''
As for the police, I think they have been lax enough in this matter and now need to take a consistent, aggressive stand against this kind of damage to public and private property. I also think that penalties should be stronger and that the "kids-will-be-kids'' attitude would go into the garbage as soon as possible.
Vandals should be made to clean up what they have messed up with their time, and with financial penalties attached. The media should also help in naming and shaming the perpetrators by covering court judgments against them and putting the stories in prominent positions in the newspaper to catch the public's attention.
Dr. M. P. A. Sheaffer