29/03/2010 18:23 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Playground Has Pretend 'Jail' For Kids

Children play all sorts of games when they're out in the local playground – but criminal and prison warder? Is that really a game to be encouraged?

Somebody obviously thinks so, as a children's playground in Brooklyn, New York has been criticised for having a playstructure complete with a cell door, prison bars and the word "Jail" painted on the side.

If a child's toy is more neutral, the more they have to bring their own imagination to it. The difficulty with a toy like this is that its very design directs a child towards prison-themed games.

The New York Times reports that the bright orange jungle gym installed at an inner city housing project has sparked outrage among local residents.

But a New York Housing Authority spokeswoman claims that the playstructure, which was erected in March 2004 in the community of Bedford-Stuyvesant, had not elicited any complaints until this week.

However, a Housing Authority grounds worker who declined to give her name told the newspaper her mother was so angry about the play set that she covered the word "Jail" with spray paint two years ago. It is not known how the word was restored.

Lumumba Bandele, a lecturer in black history at the City University of New York, who lives near the playground, commented: "The fact is that this community, along with six others in New York City, makes up the majority of the prison population in New York State. And to have this here under the auspices of the New York City Housing Authority is absolutely insulting."

On the 24 March, Housing Authority workers responded to criticism by painting over the word "Jail" and scouring off the fake bars, which appeared stenciled into the structure, with steel wool and paint remover.

What do you think? Is this harmless a harmless piece of playground equipment or is it unsuitable for children's games? Leave a comment and have your say

Source [ParentDish US]