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Inclusive School Yards

This petition had 128 supporters

The Situation:  

As of October 2016, at the decision of the school principal, the Woodroffe Avenue Public School yard is locked after school ends to students and their parents who are not enrolled in the after-school Extended Day Program (EDP). The reason given was to mitigate security/liability concerns.  

For many years children, parents and after school programs have been sharing the yard after school was done for the day. Now the public school yard is only accessible to those paying for the use of the yard facilities through the after-school program.

It is our understanding that locked school yards are being slowly implemented into many schools across the Ottawa Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) and will soon become the norm, instead of the exception.

Why this matters:

Open school yards:

  • Provide a safe and familiar place for all children to play, and congregate after school hours.
  • Promote active living and building positive student relationships; in this time of decreasing activity levels among children, we need to create more spaces for them to be active, not take them away.
  • Encourages and permits play regardless if children are in a paid program.
  • Promote strong communities that look out for each other both on and off the school grounds.

We believe the health and safety of all enrolled students can be achieved through:

  • Unlocked and accessible school yards.
  • Security that is addressed from a community perspective, rather from a school liability perspective.
  • Engaged parents and community members who are critical to a healthy and safe community; it’s safer for kids to play in their own school playground rather than being pushed out onto the street,
  • Locked and inaccessible school yards have a detrimental effect on the health and wellbeing of our children and our communities.
  • An asset based approach to safety and security rather than a fear based approach.

We live in Ottawa, one of the safest cities in the world and don’t want our schools to become exclusive; we want schools to remain hubs of community activity where everyone is empowered and responsible for our communal safety.

THE ASK: Please open the school yard to after school use.   Parents and community members are willing to work with the school to look at options to make this request a success from everyone's perspective.

Further information -- Examples where shared inclusive yards are promoted:

California -- Opening the Gates to Shared Use

New York City -- School Yards to Playground

Boston --  Boston School Yard Initiative


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