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October 22nd, 2009
10:36 AM ET
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Al Veerhoff

    "Elitism" is not the issue. It is the SiZE of most of the Brookewood girls who were using the park. Remember, this is a park built for preschoolers, and Brookewood's faculty did not comply with requests to limit use to children of that age level. Look at the pictures of the park equipment, then visualize it being used by elementary and middle schoolers to see what upset Town officials.

    January 22, 2010 at 7:27 pm |
  2. Silver Fang

    I understand that the school doesn't pay taxes, so maybe banning their students from the park is within their power, but to ban everyone over the age of five, including people who pay taxes for it is out of the question.

    The mayor's attitude of the city owning the park is elitist. He seems to forget that his salary is paid by the very people he is banning from the park. The people who really own the park are the taxpayers and they absolutely have the right to use that park during the day.

    As for toddlers being frightened, I used to go to parks as a toddler that had older kids and teenagers in them and there was never a problem. Why are today's parents so overprotective of children?!

    January 22, 2010 at 11:10 am |
  3. Al Veerhoff

    "That means that a non-profit school with say, 200 students, saves the taxpayers $2 million per year. Plus those students and their families frequent the local businesses and restaurants, at great benefit to the local community."

    That argument is not a response to the problem. Most, if not all, of the Brookewood students are too big to use a playground for preschool children. Efforts to paint these students as victims of the Town's order have failed to acknowledge that the school leaders ignored the purpose of the park.

    November 9, 2009 at 8:07 pm |
  4. Joe Sandri

    The argument that the non-profit school is "asking the taxpayers to offset the costs" is exactly wrong. The children that attend the non-profit school do not attend the local public schools. Instead they relieve the public schools and the taxpayers of the $10,000+ per student per year burden that the local public schools incur. That means that a non-profit school with say, 200 students, saves the taxpayers $2million per year. Plus those students and their families frequent the local businesses and restaurants, at great benefit to the local community.

    November 1, 2009 at 8:56 pm |
  5. Al Veerhoff

    Correction: Miss Reinhardt's School was for deaf children, not blind children. It was listed under "schools for the mentally deficient."

    October 28, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  6. Al Veerhoff

    Had the CNN crew been more observant, they would have noticed that this is a PRESCHOOL playground,with equipment made for that age group. It was named after a Kensington resident who founded the first preschool for blind children, and that school, gone long ago, was just a short distance away from Reinhardt Park. Brookewood School does not have preschoolers, and its students are too big for most of the play equipment in the park. Brookewood does not have its own recreation facilities. The Town of Kensington has been trying to talk with the school about the playground use since the school opened in Kensington in 2006. When the Town in effect banned the school's students from using the park, the headmaster called CNN but did not communicate to the Town. CNN, you/ve been suckered.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:44 pm |
  7. Aniston

    How could they do that to these helpless little girls. It's just like the mayor
    blaming us for having our swings thrown over the bars or trash all over the
    yard. I mean where's their proof for it. I just don't get why people do these
    things to children. I don't know how to explain my thoughts.These people
    are so unfair. How could they do it! That's all I can say. Uh, Carl? I know
    this is kinda out of the blue, but, are you married? If so,how many
    children do you have, you know, if you have any? Good bye.

    October 23, 2009 at 9:33 pm |
  8. alan

    Ok, let me be a little more blunt about this. My point was that this newly constructed school, built without any intent of funding or building their own on grounds facilities for state mandated outdoor play, constructed their school with every intent of exploiting resources for their own financial well being. While they are a non-profit organization, they still must sell their school services to parents. In order to accomplish this, they expect the taxpayer to offset their costs? This is my issue with the situation. I do not begrudge kids or anyone else the right to use a public space, but when any entity looks to exploit public lands for personal financial benefit I have an issue with this. But one should note, all public lands have restrictions upon use including hours of access and the limitations upon group use. The latter often involves permits and fees.

    These children are being taken off school grounds on a daily basis to public lands during the course of their school day. Does the schools insurance cover this or will they expect the Town of Kensington to assume responsibilty for any accidents involving the students during these recesses? Does the lack of playground equipment on the school grounds not only reduce the cost of facilities but also insurance for the school? Obviously the land costs were reduced.

    This is not a simple case of public use, it was a clear case of intent by the school to benefit financially from public resources without approval, grant, or vote by the taxpayer base.

    October 23, 2009 at 8:47 pm |
  9. Anne Marie

    Community requires give & take and creativity. It's not all about the Benjamins. It's about people. It's about friendliness. It's about warmth.

    Simply asking a schoolgirl to get off the slide so a toddler can use it would have been friendly. An email campaign inciting the Mayor to banish the Brookewood school from the public park was not creative or friendly.

    Money doesn't solve everything. It won't solve the problem of community building in Kensington. Some problems are in people's hearts.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:53 pm |
  10. me

    sounds like any other skatepark to me.

    October 22, 2009 at 8:23 pm |
  11. Orion

    For those who are trying to defend the town for this law....what happens if someone home schools their child and they would like to take their child to the park during the day time? Have you thought about this? And banning adults from the park during the same hours unless they have a child I would be upset at as well. What if I wanted to walk my dog....or run through the park....or perhaps sit and read a book in the park? What then? I think that the town then needs to build another park and ban anyone under the age of 5. I say the school needs to build their own park and open it up to the public except for anyone with a child under the age of 5....I bet people will complain about that...saying it's descrimination.

    Public parks are just that....public...and it should be kept that way regardless of who is on the property. If it's built buy public money then anyone, regardless of who they are or where they attend shool, should be allowed to use it. It's a free country...if the parents of the todlers don't like the older girls around their toddlers then perhaps they should go somewhere else OR go to the park when the school is not using it and when the school starts using it then leave. It's very simple.

    October 22, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  12. Sean

    So... where were all these 'concerned moms' and their toddlers? Did anyone else notice that during the entire piece, not a soul was there? What a waste of money. I don't want toddlers hassled either, but I didn't see any there. So they're just going to let the equipment rot? Nice.

    October 22, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  13. Orion

    Well I think the entire city needs to join together on this and then force an emergency vote to vote out the Mayor. Then vote to change the law that bans Mayors from Banning kids from parks.

    October 22, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  14. Nic

    Alan-No. As a resident of Kensington, I can say that it doesn't change my personal view. As a mother of a toddler, I understand the frustration when "big" kids are on the play equipment, but an outright ban was arbitrary and capricious by the Town of Kensington. What is needed is for the recess monitors of the school to remind their students of the shared use of the park. How do you tell a 7 year old that they can't swing on the swings in that park? In plain language, that's just mean. The actions by the town council are a black eye on our community to the rest of the region (and now, thanks to CNN, nationwide). This is not in the best interest of our community.

    October 22, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  15. Mike

    1. The Town of Kensington is in Metro DC, not a Baltimore 'burb.

    2. This "me only" attitude by the Town of Kensington is typical of the Metro DC elitism that unfortunately now pervades Maryland politics.

    3. Ever wonder why the folk metro Baltimore and other non-DC parts of the state can't stomach these folks?

    October 22, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  16. Alan

    You folks do understand that this is a private school, not a public school. Most of the attendees are not residents of the Town of Kensington and their tax dollars did not pay for the park. That argument is invalidated. Secondly, Brookewood was built in a an older neighborhood and opened in 2006, 3 years ago and failed to provide sufficient facilities to meet the needs of their privately funded student body. Third, Brookewood is part of the non-profit group Avalon Education Group Inc. As a result, the school is unlikely to pay their share of taxes.

    Nor is this casual use, it is a daily monopolization of a small park by a group of students.
    Perhaps your views change somewhat at this point?

    October 22, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  17. Barbara Van Dyke

    This is in regards to the school children not being able to play on a city playground during their recess time. I think it is fine to limit the playground to toddlers and preschoolers during a prescribed set of hours. This gives the little ones time to run and play and not run interference with the older children. I am sure that the older children in question here would not deliberately hurt a younger child, but the mothers will feel safer with the little ones if the older ones are not there. Perhaps a change in hours to keep the older ones out from 9AM to 1 PM would be more acceptable. Perhaps keeping the younger toys in a different are then the older toys. I think the older children are not interested in the swings designed for babies and toddlers.

    October 22, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  18. Richard

    The basic issue on this is getting the money for the town. Maybe they should suggest that they get a knew park for the older girls or just get a samller one for the younger children.

    October 22, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  19. David

    you should at least locate the suburb correctly. It's just outside DC, not Baltimore..... not great for the credibility of the piece

    October 22, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  20. Scott

    I sympathize with the moms. I take my daughter to playgrounds, but older kids often hang out in big groups and will dominate toddlers. There should be somewhere for older kids to hang out since they often just sit and don't really use the equipment, which is what the little kids want to do. I've even had to tell high school kids if my daughter could step over them to get to the slide!

    October 22, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  21. Hugh

    This is Un American but thats how petty governments behave today. This is the kind of thing that that happens in Red China and in the old Soviet Union. All americans are equal but some americans are "more equal" than others.

    October 22, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  22. Ami

    How is it legal for the town to ban the public from a public park paid for by the tax payers? I would sue the town for my taxes back and demand that the town allows the public to use the park or the park should be tore down. Shame on this town and the mothers who complained. It's a public park if you want your babies to play alone then have them play at home in your own back yard where you can restrict anyone you want to. When I take my children out in public I understand that public means just that and private is in my own back yard. Bottom line, if it's funded threw public taxes then it's up for public use.

    October 22, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  23. Russ

    So what are these moms that filed the complaints going to do when their kids reach the age of the ban? Probably try to remove it saying it isn't fair to ban kids from a PUBLIC park. Come on people, they're kids. Better to let them play in the park directly across the street from their school rather than having them walk down the street to do the exact same thing, which could potentially be dangerous for them. Why don't they tell the parents with the younger children to go down the street to the other park? I see a lawsuit in the near future, if not already...

    October 22, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  24. Kevin

    Instead of paying thousands in fees to use the public park, the school should take that money and build their own freakin park just for the school girls.

    October 22, 2009 at 1:08 pm |
  25. Kay

    Ditto to Michael: Don't ya'll have a Washington Bureau? Kensington is part of Montgomery County, Maryland, and is a Washington D.C. Suburb. It might not seem like a big deal, but it is. Thanks.

    October 22, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  26. Michael Wright

    Fact check: Kensington is a suburb of Washington, not Baltimore. Also, this town also tried to ban Santa Claus from their Christmas parade in 2001.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:58 am |
  27. sdlall

    I understand that the city owns it but it was paid for with tax payers money. This is what is wrong with America. Do the parents that are complaining realize that they were probably brought up in a park with the same problems and they lived. Land of the Free but ban from a public. I have feeling that this is not about parent's complaining but more about the money that the city wants to collect from the school which is probably county money. Sad Real Sad

    October 22, 2009 at 10:48 am |