Classroom Management

“He Ruined My Artwork!” Dealing With Art Room Vandalism

Let’s face it. We never want to witness or hear about a student vandalizing their peer’s artwork. There’s nothing worse than hearing a student say, “He ruined my artwork!” Regardless of the age of the student, vandalizing other student’s artwork is a big no-no.

Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 9.48.59 PMWith experience in teaching art to grades K-8, I’ve witnessed students of all ages leave their mark on other student’s artwork. Luckily it doesn’t happen very often. When it does, the motivation seems to vary. Sometimes it’s out of revenge, hate, anger, or silliness. At times it’s an accident. Occasionally the vandalism is fixable and other times permanent.  Regardless, there are consequences.

The consequences vary depending on the age and motivation. When I taught elementary, consequences ranged from verbal and written apologies, missed recesses, phone calls home, to office referrals. My middle school students receive different consequences. Sometimes they receive a phone call or e-mail home, spend time after school writing an apology letter. Every now and then it means missing valuable sporting practices or events.

Luckily, occurrences of vandalism happen few and far between and for the most part. What about in your classroom?

What do you do when a student vandalizes another student’s artwork?

Are there consequences?

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Cassidy Reinken

Cassidy Reinken, an art educator, is a former AOEU Writer. She enjoys helping students solve problems and reach their potential.

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