Normal Heights Elementary School Opens Playground, Sparks Protest

Our GREATEST ASSET is our CHILDREN. Normal Heights Elementary IS a lovely/peaceful SCHOOL, not park. Our children do have supervision, the question is SAFETY. They can't be safely supervised with the gates standing open with ANYBODY able to walk in. There are 36 PEDOPHILES within a 1/4 to 1/2 mile around our campus and 63 in a 1 mile radius. Opening the gates WELCOMES in this unwanted attention. Those of US with children do NOT welcome this attention onto OUR safe campus. Those of us WITH children are not looking for ANOTHER park, we know where the parks are. There is NO REASON for the campus to be open, there are play structures at the park, bathrooms, a basket ball court at the park and a walking path, guess where, AT THE PARK! The joint use facilities are very common in this area, go use them. Our school, if you were at the "town meeting" is unique in design. These other joint use fields are NOT unique in design. The MAJORITY of them are seperate from the school, and are fenced in areas. Ours, if you have seen our campus is not. The classrooms directly cross the path of the curvilinear path and our children in our Prime Time program are outside learning/playing at these times and have to go to their classrooms as well as the children in our after school tutoring programs. With the gates open any one could walk in, take our children and harm them. Now, public as defined by Websters dicitionary, "the general body of a nation, state or COMMUNITY, at large." This means the good and the bad. Right? They are not dissected into good/bad, they both unfortunately use these spaces and with the gates open, will definately attract the bad. There is NO bike riding, skateboarding, rollerblades, scooters, smoking or alcohol containers in any public park. YET, AT WARD PARK THEY ARE THERE ALL THE TIME. Is that law abiding? I think not. Is that using the space correctly, in a responsible manner? I think not. The posted school signs are the precedent of the campus and there is no dogs allowed, no bike riding/skateboarding/rollerblading or scooter riding. AGAIN, SCHOOOL for children to get an education, NOT to be open to the public ALL NIGHT LONG, and surely not meant to be open to endanger our children. The scarce resources are the minds and a quality education for our children. Adults shouldn't be "mingling" in childrens play spaces. Those kind of adults should be behind bars. We now have adults who are coming around our campus shaking gates, asking children to let them into spaces that are not on the agreement open to the public. This behavior is absurd, reckless and will not be tolerated. These individuals will be arrested, even if by means of citizens arrest. These are older adults, some of them were at the town meeting and very well know better. This is not going to be solved overnight, but our childrens safety needs to be addressed directly and immediately handled by the government agencies that have the AUTHORITY to make changes.
— March 14, 2012 9:07 p.m.

Normal Heights Elementary School Opens Playground, Sparks Protest

I was at this protest, in NO WAY were ANY ethnic slurs or references to sexual orientation said from ANY of our PARENTS OR STUDENTS. We know there are more ethical ways to conduct ourselves and uphold the dignity and great name of our school, unfortunately I can't say the same for the few local representatives that were there. There was a great number of parents/students there to protest for the safety of their school, students, teachers/staff. There is no "misunderstanding" of what we were demonstrating for with the joint use agreement. It is CLEARLY written on the joint use contract that yes, was approved 6 years ago, but by a totally different board and has not been updated, revised or having our concerns addressed since. Our school is unique in design with a different layout than the other joint use facilities. They have gates that surround a field the community can use but not access the children/classrooms. If you know our campus you know the issues of child safety that concern the PARENTS AND COMMUNITY of the students that attend our school. There is NO gate that seperate the classrooms/students from the public. There is, however, a field up on top of the campus that is gated off from the school that if opened will NOT allow the public contact with our children and still allow public field space. Our Prime Time Program/after school classes are no longer able to play outside OR have snack at our lunch tables due to the gates being open and the public able to walk onto the campus. There is NO school security officer, public officer or police officer to help "guard" our children. The parents cannot "guard" the children as at this school the parents WORK, hence, the Prime Time Program. The CORRECT times are: Monday through Friday gates open at 4:05pm and close at 8:30am the next morning. Friday afternoon at 4:05pm the gates open and remain open until Monday morning at 8:30am. The gates will also be open on school holidays/vacations. Please get your facts straight as now you have put our children in more danger with people trying to get on our campus even earlier. These overnight times give ANYBODY ample time to find a space to hide and hurt, or do even worse to any of our children or staff. Not to mention breaking into classroom, stealing our computers/classroom equipment and vandalize our beautiful school. There is no purpose for our campus to be left open overnight, if you are on a school campus at 2am, you have OTHER MOTIVES. On Friday March 9th the original plans called for a "grand ceremony". This was cancelled due to it being a "highly sensitive" and "CONTROVERSIAL" issue. The parents put on the protest learning THAT MORNING that the joint use agreement would be put into effect that afternoon without ANY consideration of our childrens safety. As far as the "Bullhorn Man" goes, I applaud all of his efforts in trying to protect our students, staff and the safe environment that we had for our school up until March 9, 2012.
— March 13, 2012 10 p.m.

Fields at Normal Heights Elementary Open After School

The parents of Normal Heights Elementary are outraged at the opening of the joint use fields. There is more to the story such as students still on campus in the after school program known as Prime Time as well as students in after school reading and math tutoring classes. The safety of our children is being compromised. The campus will be open every day starting at 4pm and close the next morning at 8:30am. On weekends it will be opened at 4:30 pm and remain open until monday morning at 8:30 am. It will also be open on school holidays, vacations and summer break. Every day, all day and all night. Our Prime Time program is already in session at 7:00am and our regular school starts at 9:05am. The children in the Prime Time program will not be able to go out and play as now gates are open starting at 4pm and the community and criminal element is allowed onto the campus. We have students on campus until 6pm monday through friday. We have offered a compromiseable solution of just opening the upper field that is right next to ward canyon park that is fenced off and thus no community access to our children. We cannot understand why the community needs to have access to our students playground while there is a park right next to the school with 2 play structures, park area, basket ball court and bathrooms. There is 3 parks in the area on Adams Ave, and 2 more in the surrounding areas. Our school should not be open to the public, it will attract unwanted attention from the pedafiles in the area as well as drug users, prostitues and the homeless. We have a beautiful, safe campus where our children feel safe to come to school and learn.
— March 13, 2012 7:31 p.m.

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