02/24/2015 05:21 EST | Updated 04/26/2015 05:59 EDT

Social media reaction: Private school restricts neighbourhood kids from playground

When a private French school in Vancouver told neighbourhood parents and children to get off the school playground while school was in session, it sparked a firestorm of debate on social media. 

A sign at Cousteau French International School of Vancouver says the school grounds are reserved for school use from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. PT.

The school leases the grounds from the North Vancouver public school board and according to its lease, Cousteau is entitled to keep all non-students off its grounds while school is in session. 

One mother, Anne Fisher, whose heated exchange with the school principal was captured on YouTube video, says she helped fundraise for the playground back when it was part of a now-closed public school.

She believes that entitles her to use the playground with her children.

CBC readers weighed in on the debate, with most siding with the private school's decision to ban non-students during school hours. 

The Yes side

"Can't have it both ways. Private is not public," tweeted Andy Nez. 

"I can't believe she [the parent] made such an issue out of someone else's property. Suck it up and adapt," tweeted
Conni Christensen. 

Another reader pointed out it's the same rule for public schools that prohibit anyone from being on school grounds if they're not a student, parent or staff of the school. 

Trinda Wong wrote on CBC Vancouver's Facebook page that the fact Fisher helped raise money for the school playground was "irrelevant."

"The parent complaining is entitled to her opinion, however she has no right to trespass on the private property UNTIL after 5:00 pm. It's really just that simple. Case closed," Wong said.

Jenn Munn said it all came down to children's safety.

"Stranger danger, duh. If they say yes to some, they have to say yes to all. No schools let adults who don't have kids in that school, on school property," she wrote on Facebook.

The No side

Some readers did question the private school's decision on Facebook.

Mike Cole wrote, "This is so elitist. It's sick! Gated playgrounds now?"

Drg Green said he agreed with Fisher. "Just keep playing there and make sure to bring a lot of kids. It would be damaging to the school if he called the cops to remove a bunch of children playing," he added.

Maybe a compromise?

Still others hoped for a compromise.

"I wouldn't want parents and other children playing on the playground while my kids were on their recess," Leanna Maksymiuk said on Facebook. But "the school could modify the hours to a bit earlier (4 p.m.)."

"Legal or illegal, it disturbs me that young children are being taught elitism," said Chris McNeil, also on Facebook.

"Playgrounds should be happy and inclusive places. Schools and their playgrounds should build community. It's patently immoral and unethical to operate a service in a community with the intent of excluding its members."

Poll: Should a private school be able to ban neighbourhood children from its playground?