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Community helps clean Adelanto High School
VICTORVILLE • A grease stained cardboard food tray smeared with a mixture of dried sauces swirled in the wind before coming to rest at the feet of Deonte Lee. The 10th-grader bent to pick up the tray with a gloved hand and also grabbed a dirty napkin, a straw wrapper, a cup lid that had also accumulated in the gust.
Lee was one of a handful of people who volunteered to clean the temporary Adelanto High School campus Saturday morning.
The school site, set up on the Goodwill High School campus in Victorville, has not been cleaned steadily in two months because of a shortage of janitors, Principal Jerry Cradduck said.
Two janitors typically each clean half of the campus at night. Since one of the janitors was injured in December, Cradduck said, one side of the campus has become increasingly filthy. There has been no one to empty garbage cans, vacuum floors or pick up wayward debris regularly.
So Cradduck has started coming in at 3 or 4 a.m. to do it. Teachers are also cleaning where they can and students are pitching in to help, he said. Marcos Perez, parent of an Adelanto High School student and School Site Council parent liaison, sent out a mass email urging students, parents and community members to help clean up the school Saturday.
“At site council meetings, we’ve been discussing this and I couldn’t believe it had gotten this bad,” Perez said as he and Cradduck vacuumed room P-304, a large temporary classroom. “I’ve been through many classrooms before and I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Cradduck said when he first cleaned room P-304, it took him 90 minutes.
“I kept thinking this was just temporary, but after two months. ...” Cradduck said loudly over the hum of an industrial vacuum. “Imagine how the teacher feels walking into an environment that’s unclean and trying to teach.”
Cradduck said a representative from the California School Employees Association told him he should not be cleaning as his actions are taking jobs away from custodians.
A CSEA official could not be immediately reached for comment on Saturday.
Cradduck said the district office has yet to send anyone to fill the void.
“There are no employees to do this job,” Cradduck said. “There are no substitutes, because they’re laying them all off.”
“Our district is in a budget crisis,” Perez said in the mass email. “Our schools are not being supported by the district.”
Cradduck said educational codes are being violated.
“We have a commitment to the community to provide a healthy, clean environment for our kids,” Cradduck said. “As administrators we are in the leadership capacity for us to do it. It’s more than just the kids, it’s the entire community. I’m here for the kids 100 percent and for their families.”
Students such as Lee see the campus cleanup as an opportunity to step up where they’re needed and earn “merit points,” which the school offers as a way to possibly earn a scholarship.
“I may not enjoy it because it’s not fully our campus, but I want to make it clean and be able to take pride in the school that I come to every day and see beauty, not trash,” said Lee. “It’s awful because when it’s windy outside, it becomes a tornado of trash.”
Lynnea Lombardo may be reached at (760) 951-6232 or at LLombardo@VVDailyPress.com.
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