For the past year, Spanish-speaking parents in Milford, Delaware, who brought their children to the playground facilities near the Lulu M. Ross and Mispillion elementary schools were greeted by a sign that warned them of possible police action if they attempted to use the playground without the proper permit.
That might have been fine, if not for the fact that the English version of the same sign required no such permit from visitors, only adequate parental supervision.
The widely differing signs went unnoticed until they were recently spotted by popular Delaware radio host Dan Gaffney, who made them a topic on his talk show.
"I don't speak Spanish, but it was obvious that the messages were different and that it was wrong," said Gaffney, who posted a photo of the signs on Facebook.
The photos eventually reached Milford School District Superintendent Dr. Phyllis Kohel, who immediately told her husband to take the signs down. "I didn't want to wait," she told Delaware Online.
Though some have referred to the notices as a modern-day "Whites Only" signs, Kohel says she assumes "there was not an intent to discriminate."
As to how the Spanish translation came to diverge so far from its English counterpart, Kohel offered this possible explanation:
The only reason she can think of is that someone duplicated the signs that are posted at the districts middle school and high schools. At those locations, where there are sports fields, there are warnings in English and Spanish that use permits are required and that violators are subject to police action.