When P.S. 153’s schoolyard received a makeover in 2008, the school agreed to keep the yard open daily for public use. At dusk it is locked by a custodian, who is instructed to avoid confrontation, even if people refuse to leave, though Bauer said that is a rare occurrence.
She said teenagers occasionally mouth off and sometimes there are graffiti incidents, but “for the most part the community is very respectful of the schoolyard.”
Bauer understands, however, that the concerns of the neighbors are valid ones. Now that it gets darker earlier in the evening, Bauer has asked the school's security officers, who are on duty until 6 p.m., to escort the custodian into the yard. She hopes a uniformed presence will ensure the schoolyard closes when it’s supposed to.
“We are trying to recognize it’s difficult to live near a school, but recognize the schoolyard is supposed to be open for the enjoyment of the community,” said Bauer. “It really is a balancing act.”