Kirkcaldy: councillor reacts to anti-social problems blamed on Kirkcaldy pupils

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A councillor has stepped into the issue of anti-social behaviour by pupils at a Kirkcaldy secondary school which some residents have said is worse than ever.

People living in Ramsay Road near Balwearie High School have complained to the local authority, and Neale Hanvey MP who described a lack of action as “unacceptable and extremely disappointing.”

The school said it had taken a number of steps including carrying out litter picks, and sending out its eco-team to help as well.

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Now, Councillor Kathleen Leslie, whose Burntisland, Kinghorn and Western Kirkcaldy covers the school’s patch, has written to Fife Council’s education department, and sought out the views of two local residents’ groups.

Local residents have repeatedly complained about anti-social behaviour in the areaLocal residents have repeatedly complained about anti-social behaviour in the area
Local residents have repeatedly complained about anti-social behaviour in the area

She said: "I was a little shocked by what Neale Hanvey described and am now following this up with the council. I have written to the education manager for the school and also made contact with two local residents groups asking for feedback.

"Recently there has been a lot of negative coverage around some of what is happening in our schools by a small number of pupils and I know that all our staff are working hard to address this along with working groups and better reporting."

She added: “If there is an issue with anti-social behaviour, littering and vandalism by any of our pupils that needs to be urgently addressed and I intend to pursue this, I would urge any local residents who do have concerns to get in contact with me."

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In March, a letter was sent to residents by the rector Neil McNeil and the Safer Communities Team, detailing the measures being taken to address issues -but residents say there are still problems. One said: “The letter said litter pickers were going to be out doing it but we’ve never seen anybody.

“Safer communities were going to be involved but there’s been nothing. The police were going to be involved but there’s been nothing.

"I know the police are a bit stretched. They should do what they’ve done in Edinburgh and ban them from going out until they can learn to behave.”

However, the problem extends beyond littering with one resident saying there has been instances of vandalism including to properties in the area.

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They continued: “It’s not just the littering, it's the cheek – the kicking and banging of doors and general disturbances. It’s every day”.

Residents, school staff, police and Mr Hanvey, MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, have been involved in meetings in recent months. Mr Hanvey called the continuation of issues “disappointing”.

He said: “We have discussed and agreed many possible approaches to tackle the behaviour, but I gather from my constituents there has been little to no visible intervention from the school or any other agency. This is unacceptable, extremely disappointing and must change. I will once again contact the school asking why the assurances and commitment to take action have failed to materialise. There has been no difference whatsoever to the antisocial behaviour the community around school are experiencing day in day out."

The school confirmed it has put in place litter picks, and that staff are monitoring pupils during breaks when possible.

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Mr McNeil, said: "We remind our young people regularly of their responsibilities as citizens within the local community. We met recently with Mr Hanvey and representatives from Police Scotland and Fife Safer Communities to discuss what reasonable, further action could be taken.

"Safer Communities colleagues agreed to have a presence in the area and there was a proposal to supply more litter bins. We agreed to have our eco group carry out litter picks, when their other timetabled commitments allowed, as well as continuing with our staff patrols.

"Our eco group has carried out three litter picks since March. As this group is made up of senior pupils who are currently on study leave, this activity has stopped for the time being. During the lunch break staff monitor pupils, moving to and from the main shopping area, when they can. They can't do this every day as staff have many other duties that need to be covered within the school grounds.

"That said, my staff have not witnessed any anti-social behaviour from our young people when they have been on patrol."