Written by Betsy Abraham Thursday, 05 September 2013 00:00
Concerns about the new gate at Westbury Middle School preventing residents from accessing the track were stilled at a recent Board of Education meeting. Superintedent Mary Lagnado assured community members that the gate would not be locked and that the community was still welcome to use the recently renovated track at the school.
Lagnado got a letter from residents in the area of the middle school asking them to refurbish the track, as many of them used it in the evenings. The district fixed the track as part of their summer construction, and also installed a new gate across the driveway. Some residents expressed concern over the necessity of the gate, and whether it would be locked, preventing community members from using the track.
“We did the track at the request of our residents. Why would we put gates up to keep them out? We have put the gates as a safety measure,” Lagnado said. “It wasn’t a measure to keep the community out but to measure who’s parking there in the day. We want to make sure we have secure facilities.”
At night, the gates will be closed but not locked so people will be able to open them. They will be secured during the day. Lagnado noted that the gates will also help when the district hosts big events such as county wide track meets. During such events, the buses park at the middle school and the gates can keep people from parking in the lot. They will also help secure the school should it have to go into a lockdown.
But conversation about the gate opened up the discussion for bigger discussion such as who is liable if a community member gets hurt using the track after hours and who is enforcing trespassing rules
“My concern is liability,” resident Elaine Lovell said. “If someone goes in there and gets hurt, what about insurance? Is there a policy concerning the usage of the field? If not, the board needs to make sure that’s in place.”
The district would be held liable if someone were to get hurt on the field or track.
The middle school track and field is open for use by community residents on evenings and weekends, without any paperwork that authorizes them to be there. If they were to have to fill out a building use form, to allow them use of the property for games or picnics, the district would have to pay security personnel on the weekends to make sure that people had the proper permit. There is also no one to enforce the building rules such as no loitering, littering, alcoholic beverages, barbeques or bicycles on the track.