RYE BROOK, N.Y. -- For the time being community members will not be allowed to run on the track at Blind Brook High School between dusk and dawn, or while there are student activities on the field.
The track has normally been left open to the public during all hours, but this summer the Board of Education decided to lock the gate at night following a graffiti incident. That practice will remain in place. Additionally, the field will be off-limits to the public during school activities such as gym class, sports games and fire drills due to potential concerns for student safety.
Cher Treacy, a teacher and coach at Blind Brook Middle School, said that she sometimes feels uncomfortable when she is out on the field with students and sees strangers walking the track.
"As a coach, who's out there with 25 females, there are sometimes men on the track that I don't know and have never seen before," she said. "When we have gym classes going on outside during the day and there's people walking around on the track, that's not safe."
The track was installed in 2006, and paid for with many contributions from the community. When soliciting community donations, it was made known that the track would be open for members of the public to use. Board member Jeffrey Diamond said that he has heard from community members who contributed money, saying that they might not have if they had known that the track would be closed off.
"I think we have to have some type of clearly defined hours when the community knows there will be access. I think that's only fair," he said.
Superintendent William Stark said that if the conversation was about a field at the elementary school, there wouldn't even be a question about closing the field.
Stark said that Blind Brook is the only school in the area that he knows of that keeps the track open to the public while school is in session.
"I don't feel comfortable putting teachers in the position of being police officers. It's just not a good idea," he said.