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Par High's Jagged Rock Path Is Unsafe, Resident Says

Robert Crawford warned the Parsippany school board that it must do something to keep people safe, but is unhappy with the action the district is taking.

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. 

clyde donovan October 01, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Maybe you could correct these minor problems by building a new $3.5 milion football stadium.
Mikey October 01, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Better yet.... raise the stupertendents salary!
Bob Crawford October 02, 2012 at 12:14 AM
Natalie Thank you for running this story. The many students who use the path to walk to and from school , the many Parsippany residents who use the path to access the track for their daily exercise, and the PHS football fans who use the path to cheer on the Red Hawks at home games thank the Patch for telling a story that Superintendent Seitz simply doesn't want to hear. One important fact that needs to be added is that Superintendent Seitz, Principal Natalie Betz and Athletic Director Richard Fonti declared the path to be unsafe a yeat ago and yet have failed to take remedial action over the past 12 months. With all respect to Superintendent Seitz who stated at the last Board meeting that there was no simple suggestion, I would suggest that, even he, over a 12 month period, could figure out a way to patch the path's holes and construct a safety railing. Perhaps he is too preoccupied with his current suit against the BOE to take the time to figure out a solution but certainly greed and arrogance must take a back seat to ensuring that the District's pathways are safe. If Dr. Seitz is too self absorbed to make that happen then the BOE, under Dr. Calabria, must assume the responsibility to do so. After all it is the Superintendent's responsibility to run the District but is the BOE's responsibility to make sure that it is well run.

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