Work experience students create mayhem at St Albans council offices

PUBLISHED: 09:39 10 May 2012

St Albans District Council.

St Albans District Council.

Archant

TEENS on their work experience at St Albans district council offices ran amok after being left unsupervised, a source claims, leaving bags of faeces in the staff fridge.

The two 14 year olds from the highly regarded Roundwood Park School in Harpenden were on a week-long placement when they committed the alleged acts of vandalism.

The source says the two wreaked havoc after being left to their own devices at the Civic Centre offices with a range of pranks, some of them going beyond the realms of a practical joke.

Claims that they super-glued toilet seats down and left bags of urine and faeces in the staff fridge were not confirmed or denied by the council.

But chief executive Daniel Goodwin at the council admitted there had been various acts of vandalism which could be traced back to the students who had been on work experience at the end of April.

He said: “Afterwards, it emerged that various acts of vandalism had been perpetrated around the council offices. The vandalism was traced back to the two students.

“The head teacher of the school was understandably extremely concerned at the behaviour of the two students.”

Mr Goodwin said the head teacher had apologised to the council and its staff for the damage and inconvenience caused and was taking appropriate action with the students concerned.

Mr Goodwin said the council would be claiming back expenses incurred while “rectifying the vandalism” from the school.

He added: “We always supervise work experience students appropriately and we had no reason to treat these two students differently.

“There is an element of trust on both sides in such situations and on this occasion we were let down by them.”

Security concerns were raised with the council, given claims the pupils were left unsupervised, about whether students had been able to access sensitive data.

But Mr Goodwin, while not responding directly to the issue, said the students had only been involved in general administrative work.

Headteacher of Roundwood, ranked an outstanding school, Alan Henshall, said: “The school takes matters concerning the behaviour of its pupils very seriously.

“We are looking into the issue and will take appropriate action in due course.”

n In 2009, the council admitted that four laptops had disappeared from their offices.

Three were unused but the fourth contained sensitive data about 15,500 residents in the area who had signed up for postal voting.

Their names, addresses, signatures and date of birth were on the laptop and were “supposed” to have been deleted.

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