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Parents shoot videos to show dangers to district

They say buses should be provided to Wilderness Oak Elementary

SAN ANTONIO - Some parents in the Northeast Independent School District are not looking forward to school starting in about a month.

That is because elementary school boundary changes are forcing their kids to walk on what they say is a dangerous route to a new school.

Kushan Edussuriya is the father of a 7-year-old and videotaped a practice walk to the new school in hopes of showing NEISD that the route is dangerous. Students on routes deemed hazardous are provided with buses.

"This is going to be fun," Edussuriya said on the video as a group of parents and children set off on their walk to Wilderness Oak Elementary.

This group lives in the Remington Heights neighborhood, where children used to ride buses to Hardy Oak Elementary.

"It's 6:38 now," Edussuriya said, marking time on the walk. A parent from the neighborhood across Wilderness oak in The Forest subdivision also recorded the new walk to school.

Children there who used to ride the bus to Hardy Oak Elementary as well, will now walk to Wilderness Oak Elementary.

They say what’s worse is that children in the back of the neighborhood will ride to Wilderness Oak Elementary while the bus will pass by those in the front.

The trip to Hardy Oak Elementary from Remington Heights was point .96 miles from Navasota Street, now to get to Wilderness Oak Elementary it's nearly a mile and a half.

Some children face a longer walk and it is down busy Wilderness Oak Road with a speed limit of 40 mph but where vehicles frequently travel much faster.

Their videos show huge trucks zooming just steps away from children walking to school.

Other obstacles include neighborhood entrances to cross, lack of a sidewalk in some places and the length of the walk.

"We're already 25 minutes into it and there's a long way to go," Edussuriya noted at one point in the video.

These parents shot video to show even though the walk is less than two miles, NEISD should deem it hazardous and provide buses.

"It's going to be a nightmare on wheels," said grandmother Alice Price at a gathering of concerned residents.

Grandparents, parents and others say there have also been several crashes recently.

Angela Theesfeld has a 2-year-old but is already worrying about his safety. "You can't have them walk because the road's not safe enough and so all these people driving is just going to be a disaster," Theesfeld said.

Edussuriya points out that each child will have to spend a lot of time walking and in the morning it will often be dark.

"To get to school on time and not be late they'll have to start about 30 minutes before sunrise," Edussuriya said.

Demetrios Yiannos shot the video leaving The Forest subdivision, showing what it would be like in the winter when it's dark in the morning.

"As you can see our neighborhood actually doesn't have any street lights in it," Yiannos said on the video.

But NEISD Spokeswoman Aubrey Chancellor said the district has examined this route. "This route is not deemed a hazardous route," Chancellor said.

She said the district applauds the parents for making this effort but said the route was studied and it is not considered dangerous.

"The only time that they may have to cross the road to get to the school is in front of it and we do provide crossing guards there," Chancellor said. And those crossing guards, parents say, will be crossing a lot of tired kids.

The parents are hoping to appeal the district's decision, saying the hazardous route study was done mid-morning, not in the heavy rush hour traffic earlier.

For a list of recent stories Bryan Mylar has done, click here.


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