Child's video points out safety hazards at Dallas school's playground

Child's video sparks change at playground

DALLAS – Crews have been busy removing old playground equipment and making repairs around some playscapes outside R.L. Thornton Elementary School.

Some Dallas Independent School District leaders have called the timing of the work this week a proactive move after community members brought a series of safety concerns to the district’s attention.

Christiane Miller said she wrote Dallas ISD about the equipment on Sunday. The young mom says she was concerned about noticeable hazards at the playground after a recent visit with her two sons.

The family recently moved near the school. Miller said her 9-year-old son, AJ, saw dangerous conditions on the playground and asked her to take video of the family pointing out the items.

“Look at this grass, you can see it’s like a jungle; it’s ankle deep,” said AJ in the video that has been posted to YouTube.

The family said they observed hazards across a few rusted, rickety, and outdated playscapes behind the school.

"There were playscapes that had bolts that were rusted; the nails were sticking out of the ground," Miller said. "It was just very hazardous."

Miller said she received a message from Dallas ISD hours after emailing a letter and posting the video online. Crews from the school district went to address issues on the school’s playground this week.

”Everything that AJ pointed out in the video has been removed,” Miller said. “It’s all gone now.”

The old playscapes are gone. The overgrown grass is cut.

Dallas ISD’s executive director of maintenance facility services, Willie Burroughs, claims the removal and playground repair work was already scheduled to be done this week.

"Because of the rain conditions, we haven’t been able to get in and take care of it," he said.

The family’s video was not a factor in the Dallas ISD crew’s timing, according to Burroughs.

”No it wasn’t because of the video,” he said. “It was already scheduled."

Miller believes it was her family’s video that got the ball rolling. 

”I think the passion that he displayed on the video really touched the school district,” Miller said. "It showed them what was going on from a child’s perspective.”

Dallas ISD staff says custodial staff across each campus has been urged to do regular site observations and to report any issue that needs attention.

The School Board Trustee for the area, Joyce Foreman, says she appreciates Dallas ISD’s proactive response to the community’s concern.

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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