A path that leads to the Parsippany High School football field is a hazard waiting to happen, the Board of Education heard during its Thursday meeting at Knollwood School.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, resident Robert Crawford, a former BOE member, raised concerns about the safety of the district-owned path, which leads to the fields from Jagged Rock.
He noted that the terrain—filled with rocks and potholes—is difficult to negotiate and potentially hazardous, particularly for elderly and disabled people, and that a handrail installed there is unstable.
Superintendent of Schools LeRoy Seitz said he was aware of the situation.
"Dealing with the path is not a simple solution," Seitz said. "We will be announcing to students and through the website that the gate [leading to the path] is closed until we decide how to address it.
"We are aware of the problem and we will move to address it at this point. We have no other alternative but to close it until we find a solution."
The plan described to Crawford would have the gate locked by maintenance staff from approximately 6 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday and closed all day on Sunday.
Additionally, handicap parking spaces would be available near the main Johnson Field gate adjacent to the tennis courts. The district would provide rides down to the field for disabled and elderly persons when requested.
Closing the path would be "punitive, rather than corrective action," Crawford complained.
"Blocking direct access to the PHS field on Sundays and evenings rather than patching holes and putting up a railing speaks volumes about the administration's lack of concern for and interest in the safety of the many students and adults, who for years, have used the now-closed path," he told Patch.
Crawford also noted that the gate can't block access to the path—it, too, is broken.
"Hopefully the BOE, under the leadership of [President Frank] Calabria, will take immediate action to remedy this unacceptable situation and remind the superintendent that his job is to identify safety issues and remedy them," he said.
At the meeting, Crawford also asked the board president why the PHS Science Olympiad Club is not being offered this year.
The district's explanation is that the advisor position has not been filled.
In an e-mail Crawford received from PHS Assistant Principal Richard Fonti, Principal Natalie Betz is seeking an advisor for the club, but no teacher has shown an interest in taking on the volunteer position.
"Since the advisor for this club requires a science and physics background, there is a very limited number of teachers who can serve in this role," Fonti added.