Playground Signs Spark Allegations of Racism

The sign in Spanish has a much harsher message than the sign in English.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Facebook.com/Becky Gaffney

    A simple language mix up or a case of racial discrimination? That’s the question being asked about controversial signs at two playgrounds in Milford, Delaware.

    Credit: Facebook.com/Becky Gaffney

    Delaware Online reports signs have been posted at two Milford School district playgrounds with different messages for English and Spanish readers. The top sign reads, “Parental or guardian supervision is required for the use of this playground equipment. Play at your own risk.” The bottom sign however, which is in Spanish, reads,“Ustedes debe tener un permiso para jugar en este campo. Violadores seran susceptibiles a accion policial." This translates to, “You must have a permit to play in this field. Violators will be subject to police action."

    Several people who saw the signs took pictures and posted them on social media outlets, leading to the images spreading across the Internet. The signs sparked outrage among those who wondered why the message to Spanish readers was much harsher than the one to English readers, with some even charging that racism was involved. 

    Milford School District Superintendent Dr. Phyllis Kohel had the signs removed on Sunday, according to Delaware Online. Kohel told Delaware Online there were signs at the Milford School district’s middle school and high school telling visitors in both English and Spanish that they needed permission to use the facilities or they would face police action. Kohel claims she doesn’t know why that message was only put in Spanish at the elementary schools in the district, according to Delaware Online. The signs have been up for about a year.

    Kohel stated the following to Delaware Online:

    I certainly assume there was not an intent to discriminate. We have a great working relationship with all of the communities at the school, and there is absolutely an understanding that no ethnic group will be discriminated upon.