Monday, December 15, 2014

Resistance to Co-Parents: Earl Kitchener's proposed safety measures divide parents

Hamilton man Dakota Hart, 47, is in custody after he
allegedly attempted to abduct a child at Earl
Kitchener Elementary School in October.
Earl Kitchener Elementary School is considering changing playground safety protocols in the wake of an attempted kidnapping in October, but not all parents are on board.

More than 100 parents have signed an online petition to challenge the school's proposal to limit playground access in the morning to students and staff only, which means parents must leave the playground after dropping their children off and can only observe from the sidewalk or the drop-off area.

The proposed change is one of the recommendations that came out of a police audit in November. Hamilton police visited the site on Nov. 13 and saw that there were numerous children and parents on the playground, as well as some adults just standing in the area, making it difficult to differentiate between parents and community members.

"If an adult was on the lot and not associated with the school or a student of the school, it would be near impossible for a staff member to differentiate as well," the police audit concluded, adding that the situation is complicated by the sheer size of the school, home to 580 students.

The police audit recommended that the playground should become "student-only" at 8:35 a.m. Parents must leave the playground and no adults would be allowed, except for teachers and assistant teachers.

"The overall safety of the school and students should trump the individual needs of parents/child," police said.  (more...)


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