Why Is Everyone Taking This So Lightly?!????

Updated on October 05, 2011
S.A. asks from Chicago, IL
29 answers

I am really pissed off! The school my kids go to is close to a park. Since our school does not have a playground, this park is sometimes used for gym class, a reward for extra good behavior, end of the year picnics etc... The problem is, there have been quite a few instances where nasty items have been found there. Lately, several used condoms have been spotted right out in the middle of the park where the kids play. My friend found one yesterday, so I'd finally had it. I contacted the school, the village president, the police department and reported this. I also told our principal that I feel our students should no longer utilize this park. This is a recurring problem and it's a flat out health hazard. He told me that he would just have the maintenance crew check over the park before letting our kids go there. Well, I'm sorry, but our maintenance man is about 75 yrs old and I doubt he could check it thoroughly enough. I guess I just expected the principal to be in full agreement about not letting the kids go to this park at all. A few of moms I talked to also seem pretty unconcerned about this, while just a couple of them are as upset as I am. What gives? We're talking about Used. Nasty. Condoms containing bodily fluids laying in the middle of the park. Not a big deal???

Added: I forgot to mention, the school does have a large blacktop area for recess with lots of balls, jump ropes, hopscotch etc..and we have a beautiful gymnasium so the kids are able to get fresh air and lots of exercise without using this park.

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So What Happened?

Thanks for your responses. The majority of you think this is no big deal also. My whole point is that our kids don't need to go to this park at all. As I explained, we have a recess area on school property where they have plenty of room to run, play ball, jump rope etc... we also have a state of the art gymnasium. It is completely unnecessary to take the kids over to this park especially for gym class. I think that since gym is only once a week, they should have a more structured lesson instead of just having free time at the park. So because we don't need to go there, why is the administration insisting on having us do so when the park isn't clean?

Featured Answers



answers from Dallas on

Hmmm, blacktop, gym or park? Park totally! Sounds like you are in the minority and not going to win this one. Sorry.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

No one can stop teenagers from doing this.. not just in public parks but school parks at night...its as old as condoms are!.....Also dont think its a good idea to take out recess because of it. The lack of physical activity far outweighs the dangers of possible "what?" exactly. I recall finding condoms as a kid and not touching them.

But people should do a search of the area before allowing kids.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

With budget cuts a plenty, the principal probably thinks there's no budget for a playground at the school and if it has worked for so long....have you contacted the PTA?

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Dallas on

That sounds like a great opportunity for parents to volunteer- it would only take a few minutes to walk the park and check for trash, dog poop, graffiti, etc. each morning after dropping off kids. If five parents each volunteered for one weekday, the park would be a nicer place for the whole community to enjoy.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

You're talking about a public park, which is out of the school's control. I'm sure they care, but there are more important things going on.

My advice is that if it's that big of a deal to you, then organize a group of volunteer parents to help clean it up, or volunteer yourself. Are you a member of the PTA? If not, join & make the suggestion. A school is a community, you are part of that. A complaint is always better received when it is accompanied by an offer to help, or a suggestion to make the situation better. It may not be the parents' "job", but it sure is a nice gesture.

The fact of the matter is that the germs all those little kids are carrying around are probably worse than whatever's at that park. The world is a dirty place.

I get your concern, I really do. But I think you're overreacting a bit. In any event, good luck.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

I'm not a stand around and text type of mom. After school gets out, we stay and play on the playround for about 30 minutes. I bring a broom, trash bag and gloves and CLEAN the playground MYSELF. NOBODY says a WORD to me.

I can fill a shopping bag with the stuff I find DAILY. HENCE the need for a pair of work gloves. Sometimes you just have to do SOMETHING on your own. They aren't going to stop using the park because there's trash there. There's trash EVERYWHERE!

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I agree with Kiki..

Start a parents committee and begin by cleaning up the park each morning.. Schedule it out. Have rakes, trash bags, gloves.. whatever is needed to clean it up.

Make a list of all "items" found each day.. Write up a report and pass it along to the school Principal the Police and any other group that needs to know. Make it professional.They will pay attention to proof and documentation.

I would hate for the kids to be banned from the park because of this.. You have the solution at your finger tips. Keep it clean, post signs to "Keep This Park Safe and Clean for the Children"..

Once you have the evidence and more community support.. The city/town will be more willing to do something.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I agree with those who see this as a volunteer opportunity. The park is a public place and the police probably have better things to do then look for horny teenagers 24/7, and it seems silly to deny the children a chance to run free in the grass and enjoy the park because of the off chance they'll find something unsavory. If it bothers you that much, get a crew of parents to check over the park prior to school excursions.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

they are probably more likely to die and get sick from lack of fresh air and physical activity.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Hm... blacktop or swings. Yup, I'm going for the swings with the cool climber and twirly slide. It's a reward and something out-of-the-ordinary. PE is about learning physical skills, but recess is about fun!

Kids don't know what condoms are and it's not the school's property. If you want to file a complaint, file it with the Parks and Recreation department. There are germs and body fluids all over everything... teach your children to NOT TOUCH things like cups and other items on the ground, not to rub their eyes before washing their hands and to wash their hands as soon as they come in. That lesson will go much further than "don't go there because it may be dirty".

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Canton on

I agree that it's unsanitary and all. However, I agree if people are so concerned DO SOMETHING about it! I firmly believe that half our problem nowadays is everybody know what needs done an how to do it, but nobody actually want to do it. We all just expect someone else to do it. What would you rather the school do, sit the kids at a laptop or video game? Play is an important part of childhoo for so many reasons. Kids need to get out. A phone call isn't going to fix it. What are the councilmen and principal going to do? Cancel recess all together? Seem the options are that or come up with funds to build a playground or get the community involved in making sure that park is safe for those kids....

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

A playground is always more fun than a blacktop or inside basketball court.

I'd call your Recreational and Park Dept and complain that they try to keep a better watch on that stuff, not the school.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Hmmm....Our school grounds are open to the public. My son has soccer practice there I see other baseball teams, there are teens that play basketball and flag football. At night people could make there way onto school property no problem. What would I do if "nasty" things were found on school property? I certainly wouldn't say that I don't want our kids to play on the playground! if I thought that the 75 year old maintenance man couldn't do his job that MY bee-hind would be there on those days checking the park and picking up anything that needed to be because I wouldn't want to take away the playground from my kids.
On another note....Does the school's insurance cover injuries to kids that get hurt off of school property?

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

Ok, I get your issue, however....I don't understand how the condom and the school using the park go hand in hand. I'm sure that the kids from the school are not doing it at a school function in the middle of the day. Sounds like to me that a security officer needs to be doing rounds after hours.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I've found nasty used condoms on school playgrounds. Even fenced ones. If we never took our kids anywhere that there might be nasty things, we'd never take them anywhere.

Have someone clean the playground before the kids get there.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

I agree with Meredith... A group of concerned moms should walk the park.
Otherwise it's just "one of those things in life that happens". It's gross to think you child would pick up a used rubber, especially since they wont even know what it is..... but our kids touch lots of weird things that we never know about. It's not a pristine world.
I'm sure the teacher on duty watching the kids play would get cued if something were amiss. "throw that in the trash and now go wash your hands", problem solved.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

I wouldn't be concerned. I've actually found condoms in a couple of our local parks. The kids don't notice them, know what they are, or care. I also pick up empty cups and bottles a lot and throw them away. It never occurred to me to quit going to the park over it. Seems like the teachers could "go over the area" while they're there to make sure it's clean. If anything maybe you should make arrangements to have your kids not go to the park, but expecting the whole school to follow your lead is a bit much on this in my opinion.

Now, if the school has awesome facilities and for NO REASON it's just removing kids from campus and going to a dirty park, that does seem odd. But parks are always good exercise and fun, so I still wouldn't care. Unless there were needles. If there were needles there I would put my foot down on it for sure.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Why don't you just *trust* that the maintenance man can do his job and if not, then address it further. I guess I'm with the moms not thinking this is a huge ordeal. Maybe talk to your kids and tell them sometimes things are left in the park and if they are over there and see them you shouldn't pick them up or touch them because they have bad germs on them. Just my opinion. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

It seems like it's a majority rules thing. On here, the majority seem to say it's ok. If it's the same in your school, then you can starting checking the park out yourself or have to change schools. I try to take this approach with everything at my daughters' school. Am I in the minority or majority on a position? If the majority, we should get it changed. If the minority, I suck it up or change schools... Personally, I don't think this is a huge deal either. People can get on our school grounds at night too so the same thing could happen there as at a public park. Needles I'd also draw a line at though. And I would encourage the Park dept to try to clean up more. This is an issue for everyone. No public parks should have condoms lying around.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Sounds like the PTA needs to get playground volunteers to sweep the playground ahead of time.

Since it's a public park, all kinds of things are apt to be there, biohazards (condoms and needles) being the most dangerous.

I suspect people are "unconcerned" because the school should NOT be taking the kids out to a public park everyday, where it is perfectly legal for unvetted adults to be, in the first place... and furthermore MOST groups larger than 10 or 20 need to get permits in order to use public space.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

Ick!! That would tick me off, too. Yuck.

What did the police dept. say about it?

I would hope that someone in authority to handle park maintenance would be proactive about cleaning up the public park.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Agree that this is gross. Ewwwww! But if the school is going to have the maintenance man check it over first...then consider it done. If you don't like this answer....volunteer to come up and be the checker....or volunteer to raise funds to build a playground on the school property..(though doubt that would solve this problem). Don't just complain about a problem if you can't offer productive solutions is my point.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I just now saw this. I would be in your camp. Of course kids prefer a park to blacktop or a gym. That doesn't mean they should be exposed to used condoms.

A couple of options:

You work with the town to clean up this park; form a citizens' group to patrol it for nasties on a frequent basis and push the police department to patrol the park for people who are hanging out and apparently having sex there. Surely there's an anti-loitering law?! Be an active citizen and get loud with the city government.

Or: Through the PTA, organizes a parent clean-up group to scour the park frequently (you should not HAVE to do this chore but it seems clear the school intends to keep using the park, so I'd get a parent group together to do it reguarly or take certain days to check the park)....

Or, start to lobby for fundraising that would build a new, safe playground on school property. This will be very expensive and many parents and probably the school will say, "Why spend that money when there's a park right here?" So this one may never happen. But someone should ask "Why not?" I would prefer the school have its own playground, if it were me; that way you know the equipment is new and safe. (Does the park equipment have the regulation depth of mulch under climbing equipment? Is it maintained or rusty and broken?....)

One other thought: Is the town on board with this school use of the park? Wouldn't there be possible legal liability questions if a child is hurt at the park while using it as part of a school class? I would think that there are some gray areas there. I don't advocate folks getting all legal about every little thing but I'm surprised the town attorney isn't wondering about the same thing. The person who posted that the school should have you sign permission slips for a field trip if the kids leave school property is right -- this is taking kids off school grounds without parental consent, technically.

Around here a school would have to reserve a park for a party or other activity by contacting the town parks department, filing a form to reserve a certain time, etc.



answers from Oklahoma City on

In one of our local parks the kids often uncover used needles and other sharp instruments when they are playing in the sand. Our city crew will come clean up stuff if we report it, they should be the ones checking the park area, what if that old guy sliced his hand open on a cut class or stuck himself with a used needle. That's a job I'd tell the principle I just could not do.

If you have not signed a permission slip for a field trip, leaving school property, then they do not have the legal right to take your child off the school property as far as I am concerned.



answers from New York on

thats gross. i would have done the same as you, and i would be just as ticked off as you.


answers from Kansas City on

Yeah, gross and I'd be upset too. I'm even more disgusted by the fact that the park has this going on at all. Where are the cameras and the police to STOP this behavior?



answers from San Francisco on

I'm surprised the school is allowed to do this too. You may be able to find a reason that it wouldn't be allowed...possibly the school's insurance or perhaps the park's (or the City or something) insurance would not cover an injury, etc.
I wouldn't like it either and would complain. I'm surprised it's being taken so lightly also. Sorry, it's not parents' resposibility to go clean up condoms at a public park.
You mention it's gym class...someone else below mentions recess...no matter what using the park is for, really doesn't the school need all parents' permission for their children to leave the campus anyway. This would basically be considered a field trip for our school. Really crazy, I think.



answers from Charlotte on



answers from Biloxi on

How about organizing regular community clean ups of the park? That way it would be safe and clean for everyone. Also, ask the police department to beef up patrols thru the park at night and see if the city ordinances have time constraints on the park - i.e., in my area many parks are posted as closed from 10pm to 7am - if so, ask them to post it, if not, ask them to institute them.

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