Parents talking on their cellphones in school zones has been a problem long enough to get a law on the books restricting it, but even that isn't stopping some parents at Dr. Martha Mead Elementary School.
By 2:45 p.m. on a recent school day, the circle drive in front of Mead is lined with cars full of parents, some talking on their cell phones.
"We have to be very political about how we tell the parents, but they get mad and we tell them it's for the safety of the children," said a teachers' aide.
"We'll knock on their window sometimes and we can send little notes now and then, but unless it's against the law, we really can't enforce it," said a school office administrator.
Effective Sept. 1, a new law took effect that expanded current limitations on cellphone use in an active school crossing zone to include public school property for which a local authority has designated a school crossing zone.
According to this, administrators may have some ability to enforce the law at Mead, but there has been some confusion about it.
"There are school zone signs, but they're located on the back and on the side of the school," said Northside Independent School District spokesman Pascual Gonzalez.
There are no school zone signs in front of the school because it is not designated as a school zone by city ordinance.
While the back side of the school is a school zone, the front does not qualify because there are no residential areas that require kids to cross the street.
"Therein lies the confusion because the signs are not located right in front of the school so I can see parents arguing the fact that it's not a school zone," Gonzalez said.
He said whether there is a sign or not, the law does apply to parents on their phones when driving on the Mead school property.
NISD patrols have been given the green light to enforce the law and issue citations.
The district is looking into putting signs up on the campus to remind parents of the law.
They will also be surveying the 114 other campuses district-wide over the next several months.
The law does not apply to drivers who are parked or using a hands-free device.