Allowance of field usage not consistent enough


Senior Quinn Cowden utilizes the field after school, something he would have to get permission to do if he wanted to practice on weekends.

By Jack Hudson

Through personal experience, I have found that Grady and Atlanta Public Schools are not always on the same page.  The lack of field usage Grady student athletes are allotted during official hours of operation is possibly the best example of this conflict.   Far too many times, students have been kicked off the field by the school resource officers or by janitorial staff when they were simply attempting to get practice time in over the weekend or on holiday break.

The problem stems from a technical issue in the ownership of the stadium. On paper, the field officially belongs to APS, hence the massive APS logo in the middle of the field, but in reality, the stadium lies on Grady High School property and is used mostly by the school’s students. So when Grady students need a place to train, they look to the field that they use five days a week.

However, the open access during the week leads athletes to believe that the field belongs to the school, and as students, they deserve the right to train there because they are attempting to improve their skills for their school sport.

But this is where the disconnect comes into play. In the eyes of school police and maintenance staff, the field belongs to APS. So when kids are seen playing on it, they take them as random teenagers trespassing on private property and not as students using their school’s field to practice on.

It’s not outrageous that these officers and maintenance workers should think this. They’ve been told not to let anyone on without permission from an official staff member. But when these rules are followed, it leaves the student athletes without sanctuary to train.

Yes, having random people come onto the fields may pose threats of property damage, but for the most part, the people attempting to use the field are well-intentioned students in need of space.

To solve the issue, security systems need to be updated. Having a resource officer come by the field a couple times a day probably won’t catch too many of the criminal masterminds in search of the treasures that lie inside those gates. If staff was always there, students could show identification and have easy access.

I doubt  Grady will be able to hire another full time officer just to sit at Grady 24/7. Another solution may be simply having an officer check to make sure no illegal activities are going on. If kids are just practicing, they shouldn’t be kicked off. When they start to actually hurt the property, then they should be kicked off. Far too many times have we been yelled at by resource officers when we were just playing, passing a ball back and forth. If we were staging cock fights inside the center circle, I might understand.

All in all, the situation of the field at Grady is a tricky one. But one thing is for certain, kids need a place to play, especially the students of the school that host APS’s stadium. By relaxing the rules, we may see a spike in the amount of trophies in the gym, and I doubt the crime rate within the fences will go up.

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