In Arizona and elsewhere, many school playgrounds stand locked up. We’re told kids should exercise, so why can’t they get to the monkey bars in their neighborhood?
The school playgrounds are locked after the last bell rings for fear of vandalism, among other reasons, according to azcentral.com reporter Rebekah L. Sanders.
Six elementary school districts in Maricopa County aim to change that, touting the benefits of school parks to fight childhood obesity. The districts are keeping their gates open after school ends and providing activities for both children and adults.
Ballet, BMX and more on playgrounds
Hundreds of parents recently packed Nadaburg Elementary School, south of Wickenburg, Arizona, to preview some after-hours activities that can be held at the parks, including ballet classes, soccer, BMX biking and a health clinic.
Public health advocates are spreading the word that the Arizona Legislature updated a state law in 2012 to protect schools from liability when school grounds are open to the public. As for vandalism, schools can thwart it by attracting parents and kids to use the facilities, proponents of the movement say.
Schools have an obligation to taxpayers, Rick Stephen, Nadaburg Unified School District Superintendent, told azcentral.com.
“They’re paying for it. So why shouldn’t they have access to it?” he said. “Why shouldn’t we be working together?”