Before you let your child play at a school playground in Vancouver, make sure that you know what the local rules are, especially during school hours. Otherwise, you could get into a verbal exchange with school officials, just like what happened between a group of upset parents and the principal of a private North Vancouver school.
The heated exchanged between the parents and the principal of the Cousteau International French School took place after the latter asked the parents to leave because the playground is considered private properly until classes end. However, the parents argued that their children should have access to the playgrounds at all times and regardless if school is going on or not.
The North Vancouver School District, which leases the school grounds to the private school, sided with the principal. It said that the school official has the right to ask the parents to leave because the playground is technically considered private property.
The argument, which looks set to continue further, prompted a number of public school officials to clarify the rules regarding the use of public school playgrounds in ther areas. This, perhaps is to prevent a similar conflict from occurring.
In Vancouver, school board trustee Patti Bacchus said parents and children are welcome to use such facilities even during school hours. “If there is an opportunity to share that equipment with the community, I think it would go a long way as a gesture of good will,” she said. However, to avoid arguments, Ms Bacchus reminded everyone to show common sense and be reasonable.
In Surrey, North Vancouver, meanwhile, everyone can use the playground, as long as school is out. Dough Strachan, who is with the Surrey School District, said this policy is in place to ensure the safety of the children. “The safety of our students is what comes first. That’s what I think parents would prefer,” he said.
In North Vancouver, the situation is a bit confusing. According to the North Vancouver School District, people can use the public school playgrounds even while classes are in session. However, they have to make sure that they are not disrupting the classes.
Victoria Miles, communications manager for the school district, said children playing on a piece of playground equipment just outside a class window could potentially distract the students having classes inside. For this reason, she is asking everyone’s understanding and cooperation while school is in session, which is from 7:30am to 5:30pm.