An area school is cracking down on the use of its playground after it was left in a mess last week.
Winchester Grade School Principal Andy Stumpf says the school playground isn’t being totally closed to children using it however after he arrived at the school last week to find the area had been vandalized, some changes to how it is accessed will need to be made.
“We poured new concrete out there a couple of years ago right before Covid, to extend the concrete and blacktop basketball area and someone drew all over it with black permanent marker. They used mud to wipe all over the playground on the slides and things like that. And then they just strung the equipment and put rocks all over the Pre-K playground.”
Due to wording in the Pre-K grant allowing that playground to be updated, it is the only one that is currently fenced in because it was required by the grant. Stumpf says the school is working to get another grant to help pay for putting a fence around the full playground sooner than later.
Stumpf posted on the school’s social media notifying the public about the incident and that steps were being taken to ensure it doesn’t happen again. He says the announcement doesn’t mean the playground is off-limits.
“It’s a nice playground, we have hundreds of kids use it every week. We’ve been getting a lot of negative news because it’s not a positive situation. But in the same breath, hundreds of kids use it every week and don’t tear it up so it’s just unfortunate that this type of behavior is sort of being magnified. I guess it has to be, and I sort of did that. So right now the kids can still use it as long as a parent or grandparent goes with them, or a guardian”
Stumpf says the school has a number of surveillance cameras on the property, but they were undergoing some routine maintenance to replace switches in the system last week so it was not operational when the incident happened.
He says on weekdays there is always some staff at the school during the summer who help keep an eye on the grounds, but he has asked the Winchester Police Department to patrol the school playgrounds more often during evenings and weekends to help ensure they stay in good shape for the kids for years to come.