School inflatables bounced

May. 15, 2013 @ 12:40 PM

Inflatable devices, such as bounce houses and large slides, will no longer be allowed on school property. 

“We were updating the facilities use agreements,” Jarrod McCraw, safety and security director of Union County Public Schools, said. “It was the decision of the school system that for the safety of students to not allow bounce houses anymore.”

Part of the decision is due to safety and part of it is due to the insurance liability, McCraw said.

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When they rent bounce houses, the company providing them provides a certificate of insurance and the school system signs on as an additional party.

“The school system ultimately could be responsible for injuries that occur,” McCraw said.

Inflatables tend to be popular with elementary schools during fall festivals and spring events. While staff has not heard from parents about the decision, the elementary school principals were supportive.

The school board last week approved revisions to policy 2-49, “Use of school facilities/equipment.” The changes were approved by the facilities and policy committees. The revisions were presented to the full board as a policy to review, then approved that night. 

In addition to the change in inflatables policy, the revisions outline other school-use regulations. Other reasons a request to use school facilities could be denied are that the facilities are unavailable, the application is incomplete or inaccurate, the fee is not paid in advance, the applicant violated the rules governing the use of school facilities in a previous use, the applicant failed to pay the required fee during a previous use or the activity would cause or be substantially likely to cause damage to school property, in the opinion of school officials.

Anyone using public school facilities must provide documentation regarding insurance coverage, who is responsible for supervision of activity, current contact information, a list of personnel to be present on site and certification of criminal records checks prior to the approval of the facility.

The fees are set by the superintendent, but some groups are exempt from them. Those groups include school-related organizations; federal, state, local government organization or any government agencies; precinct meetings and elections.

Organizations that are not exempt from the fees include non-profit organizations and community-based organizations. For-profit organization are also not exempt, however, the school system does not encourage for-profit groups and if a for-profit and non-profit organization request a facility at the same time, preference will be given to the non-profit organization.

The details for sports camps, independent teams and recreation leagues were also revised. The revisions were approved, but are not available online as of Tuesday afternoon because they are being reviewed by staff one last time.