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Shared Use of School Properties a Win for Obesity

by Keltcie D. on Wednesday, December 19, 2012

In an effort to increase physical activity and prevent obesity, the American Heart Association (AHA) and Eat Smart Move More are talking about possible upcoming legislation in South Carolina that will remove barriers and clarify liability language so schools can offer their facilities, such as playgrounds and gyms, to non-governmental entities for use.

AHA’s goal nationally is to increase the number of states that clarify liability rules regarding the use of school-owned recreational facilities by other government and non-governmental entities for the purpose of physical activity by allowing the user to assume liability for any property damage or injury, as well as providing that the school not be held liable.

Liability concerns present a significant and valid roadblock to schools who could otherwise partner with entities and organizations to support community activities that promote physical activity.  In South Carolina, the legislation would insulate schools from liability if an accident or injury were to occur while being used by outside groups, and thus open the door for myriad opportunities to make the space available for community use.

The Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children in South Carolina, chaired by Senator Mike Fair of Greenville, has expressed interest in learning more about shared use and could possibly take the issue on as an endorsed legislative item in 2013. For more information about this committee please visit http://www.sccommitteeonchildren.org/.

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