FRANKLIN COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) – A miscommunication lead school officials to remove a new elementary school playground that was installed by parents and the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO).
For about a year, parents and students raised money for a new playground at Snow Creek Elementary School. The PTO raised $3,500 and worked to gain approval for the playground.
School officials reportedly told the organization what material the playground would need to be built out of and where it could be built on school grounds. They received approval from someone at the office. The community, students, and parents began the installation process.
“There was a lot of emails that had to go through to get it approved to make sure it would be safe for the kids to play on,” Carrie Bouldin said. Carrie’s daughter, Rose, attends Snow Creek Elementary School.
The project was completed before school began.
After completion, the parents and PTO were told that approval for the playground was not given by the right person. Carrie Bouldin says the PTO was given about 24 hour notice to take the playground equipment down, and anything left would be collected by the district and sold in auction.
“When we found out that it wasn’t “approved”, it was just kind of like, ok hang on a second, we spoke with somebody, we had this approval here. So what’s the issue with it now,” Carrie asked.
Her daughter, Rose, was excited the new playground would be geared towards older kids. Now her classmates are upset they don’t have a new playground to play on.
“I liked it when I heard about it,” Rose said. “But when I found out they were taking it down, the whole class, their hearts were broken.”
Snow Creek Elementary School’s principal, Ken Grindstaff, says in a statement that there was a miscommunication between the School Board Office, administration, and himself, and he was not given full authorization to proceed with the playground project.
It was stated that the equipment purchased to construct the playground was “not designed for rigorous school usage” and did not meet the national playground safety standards.
Using the playground as constructed could present a safety issue for our students. The decision was made to remove it based on the safety and well-being of our students and to hopefully recover some of the expenses.Ken Grindstaff, Principal
“If there was an issue and the children wouldn’t be safe on it, why not let us know so we can make the changes to it that need to be made instead of saying well we’re going to take this and we’re going to auction it off at a bus auction,” Carrie said.
The principal says the school, as well as the PTO and School Board Office, will work to construct a playground that is safe for students.
This action in no way should reflect on the fine and hard work of our PTO and parents who constructed the playground.Ken Grindstaff, Principal
At this time, Carrie says the PTO does not know what the money for the auctioned materials will go towards.