This interesting article from today’s L.A. Times examines questionable rules put in place by apartment landlords who rent primarily to Latinos in California. The landlords have forbidden children from playing outside on the apartment common areas because they claim the children are unsupervised, litter, and sometimes destroy property (i.e., they damage shrubbery when they are playing soccer). When enacting these policies, landlords have fined families sums of $25 per incident when their children are committing the flagrant act of playing outside.
Okay, we all know that kids do things they should not from time to time. Even well-behaved children will occasionally damage things in the course of playing with their friends (or perhaps only my children do this?). Nevertheless, it is draconian to “ban” children from playing outside. If the landlords do not want their landscaping damaged, perhaps the answer is building a playground and creating open space that is designated as a “sand lot” for kids to play soccer and other team sports. Banning kids from playing outside is simply ridiculous.