Vinita Elementary School Playground Used For Sex, Drugs

Friday, August 31st 2012, 2:40 pm

By: News On 6

An elementary school playground in Vinita, meant for kids, is attracting a very unsavory crowd.

Over the past year, parents and students have found drugs, syringes and used condoms at the Hall-Halsell Elementary School playground.

The playground is called the Hornets' Nest. It's used by the elementary school students, it's used by the public, and police say, at night, it's where people come to do drugs.

"It's the local druggies coming out here at nights and on weekends," said Vinita Police Chief Bobby Floyd.

Valerie Frapp's six and eight-year-old daughters were with her over the summer when she found used condoms and drug paraphernalia on the playground at Hall-Halsell Elementary in Vinita.

"I just tried to put it in the bag and just hide it, but there were other children at the playground, who were there when we got there, and they were pointing out stuff to look at," Frapp said.

Over the past year, parents and at least one student have also found drugs, used syringes, and ammo there.

The nooks, crannies, and shadows make it a perfect hiding place at night, despite police patrols.

The school playground becomes a city park after 4 p.m., so it cannot be fenced in.

"It's going on everywhere. It's just unfortunate we found it here and we have to deal with it, and we're trying to take proactive steps to make sure it doesn't happen again," Floyd said.

Police, school leaders and the community are raising money for a surveillance system that monitors the playground.

They've already installed high-powered lights, posted signs warning about stricter security and the school staff is constantly on the lookout.

The elementary school's Principal, Mary Smith, said, "Every morning, our custodians go through, they sweep the playground, and I'm so glad to say they haven't found anything this school year that would be harmful to children."

The more money raised the better equipment they can get.

Valerie said it's worth the effort, especially since this school is for four to eight-year-olds.

"It's our children and I think it's a parent's responsibility to help step forward and take care of stuff that the school isn't able to raise all the funds for," Frapp said.

Vinita police are asking for public donations to help pay for the surveillance system. They'll even be collecting money at home football games.


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