The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Education

June 5, 2014

Playground hours cut

CLINTON — Deb Olson doesn't want anyone to get hurt on Clinton School District property.

As the Clinton School District's superintendent, Olson doesn't want criminal activity on the district's property, either.

Olson said that because of a few incidents at Jefferson Elementary School's playground in recent months, the district is reducing hours there, with those hours to shrink even more once the school year is completed.

"Hopefully this will help the situation," Olson said. "If more than that is needed, then we'll look at doing something more."

The hours recently were limited to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and after school is finished this week, the playground will close at 3:30 p.m.

Concerns from school resource officers and the district have included vandalism and after-hours fighting at the playground, Clinton Police Capt. Tom Bohle said.

During a regularly scheduled meeting with school resource officers in May, district personnel and Clinton Police Chief Brian Guy discussed the increase in activity at the playground. The district has since erected better lighting, but ultimately decided to reduce hours at the playground.

"We're hoping this is a short-term thing, and we're trying to do this to help the neighborhood," Olson said. "Staff has been out and we've encouraged people that if they see things to call."

The reduced hours already have led to trespassing violations, Olson said.

Bohle said it's mostly middle school-aged children involved in the alleged incidents and police officers have stepped up patrols in that area.

With the summer months beginning, it isn't surprising that criminal activity looks to be increasing, Bohle said.

"Last winter, kids weren't going out in that; and spray cans won't work at 20 below," Bohle said. "With more time on their hands, and less supervision, that stuff does increase in the summertime."

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