HAZLETON — Imagine this: a preschool director goes in to work to find the preschool playground covered in sand. It happened in Hazleton, but after the school announced it would have to close the playground, one preschool parent spent the day cleaning up the mess.
A preschool playground should be a happy place, but not this week at the playground for the Helping Hands Society in Hazleton.
“The teachers brought children out on the playground yesterday and they came right back in with a bunch of sad faces,” said Helping Hands Society executive director Mary Beth Koch.
That’s because the playground was covered in sand. Executive director Mary Beth Koch believes someone took sand from the sandbox and covered the playground with it. Parts of the playground were also broken and covered with graffiti. The kids weren’t able to use the playground for safety reasons.
“Why would someone do this?”
“I mean it was vandalism. It was just, I don’t even know what the intentions were. Was it a prank? I don’t know, but it had to take hours and hours,” said Koch.
The people who work at the preschool said it’s clear that they took the sand from the sandbox because quite frankly, there’s not very much left in it. A water bottle filled with sand was also found.
But preschool parent and Hazleton Fire Chief Donald Leshko came to the rescue.
“Sand’s very slippery. It’s course. It’s very slippery, so I understand why they had to close the playground,” said Leshko.
But after Leshko dropped his son off at school, he went home and came back with a leaf blower to clean the sandy mess.
“It’s just horrible to see this happen and the children didn’t do nothing to these people, and to come out and destroy stuff like this, there’s just no answer for it,” said Leshko.
Thanks to Leshko, the playground was able to reopen.
“For a bad that happens, a better good happens, and that’s the way we choose to feel around helping hands,” said Koch.