Nancy Valencia Statement On Fremont Elementary School Playground Access

Public school playgrounds should be a public place where families meet, develop friendships, and build community.

I have been following closely the Save Our Fremont Playground efforts since last fall. Fremont, like many schools in the district, is located in a neighborhood that lacks access to safe, free, and accessible space for children and youth to play. Public school playgrounds should be a public place where families meet, develop friendships, and build community.

I have had the privilege to meet with the team of parents leading the charge to open Fremont’s playground to the public on the weekend. Importantly, they are not only concerned about Fremont, but also strongly advocate to open other public school playgrounds on the weekends.

Jon Meyer, LBUSD Board Member for Area 4 that includes Fremont Elementary School, has suggested that the district survey other schools that may not have access to safe play areas on the weekend and consider opening those school playgrounds for the community.

A study, in the long-run, would help ensure that all public elementary schools are accessible to the public. However, we should ask Fremont to pilot the proposed change now to guide and inform future policy efforts to make all LBUSD elementary school playgrounds open to the public in a way that is compatible with LBUSD’s educational mission and school safety.

I have found Fremont parents to be thoughtful, committed, and concerned about schools facing public accessibility challenges similar to those faced by Fremont. I support Fremont parent efforts to ensure public schools are accessible to the public and will continue to assist and support their endeavors.