Parents bringing their students to Des Allemands Elementary got an unwelcome surprise when they noticed that a jungle gym in the school’s playground had been marked off with caution tape.
Bobbi Fahrig, whose child attends the school, said she and other parents were discouraged that the school system had not replaced the equipment before the start of school. “This is ridiculous. They definitely had plenty enough time and enough money to get this fixed before these babies start school,” she said.
Fahrig said she emailed the School Board and was told the district is working on replacing the equipment, but that does little for her son now.
“[The playground equipment] sits there taped off with yellow tape on their playground unusable,” she said.
Although the school district undertakes a district wide inspection each summer to ensure facilities in proper condition, Stevie Crovetto, public information officer for St. Charles Parish Public Schools, said they mainly focus on classrooms.
“With the start of a new school year, our first priority is ensuring that our classroom buildings that house instruction are ready for teaching and learning,” she said.
According to Crovetto, the jungle gym’s steel decking has rusted out and is in need of replacement. The reason the playground equipment was not replaced prior to the beginning of the school year was that the problem was not recognized until late in the summer.
“The equipment is not in use and will be removed within the next few weeks. We are in the process of seeking quotes and selecting a vendor to install a new unit. This process takes approximately six weeks,” she said.
In the meantime, Crovetto said children have other means of recreation during recess.
“The children do have other pieces of equipment to play on including swings and other activities for exercise, such as bike riding, jump rope and playing ball,” she said.
In contrast, Fahrig said younger children, such as preschoolers and kindergartners have fewer options when it comes to recess.
“They are not allowed to use the other playground because the equipment is too big for them,” she said.