Education is a vital part of a functioning society. While going to school may be annoying to us when we're young, we understand the necessity of it as we grow older. If you have children, you know about the daily struggle of making sure your kids get to school on time. It can be a precarious balancing act, as you might need to make sure you get to work on time as well. While many parents choose to drive their kids to school or let them take the bus, walking with them is an option countless parents go with and enjoy.
However, this option was taken away by a school in Magnolia, Texas. Bear Branch Elementary school implemented a controversial new policy that bars parents from school grounds. It has caused quite the stir and has left parents, students, teachers and the entire community in an uproar.
What is the policy? It states that parents are no longer allowed to walk their children to or from school grounds. They must either drive them, let them take the bus or allow them to walk alone. Even if you live very close to the school and feel walking your child is the safest option, the school absolutely prohibits it.
The school claims this policy will make drop off and pick up safer. However, almost all parents and many of the staff disagree. They feel it's a needless idea and has exacerbated already long lines of traffic by the school, making it more difficult to get children to school and back home in a timely manner.
This new policy was implemented by Bear Branch Elementary School principal Holly Ray. Despite the criticisms, she is steadfast in keeping the rule in place. She has even gone to extremely harsh measures to enforce it.
Ray has threatened that any parents caught on school grounds dropping off or picking up their child will be charged with trespassing. This isn't an offense that results in a ticket. She is actually telling parents they will be arrested if they break her rules.
This isn't an idle threat, either. She hasMontgomery County Constables backing her, willing to arrest any parents simply for walking with their sons and daughters to class. While many school policies rub parents the wrong way, this seems to be on a whole new level.
Wendy Jarman, a mother of children who attended Bear Branch, expressed her shock and outrage.
"She's threatening to arrest people. This has happened to many parents. They have been cited. They have been threatened, if they step one foot on school property, they will be arrested and charged with who knows what."
Frank Young is another parent of a Bear Branch child. He says he's been warned by the police and Ray herself and aired his grievances, saying, "Mrs. Ray's policy is implying that a parent doesn't have the ability or capability to decide what is safest for her children and that the school district does. I disagree."
No effort has been made by Principal Ray or the school to negotiate. Hundreds of signatures were collected in a petition, but they (Ray and the school) continue with their bully tactics. May feel this is just a case of a principal overstepping her boundaries.
Ray doesn't see a need to change, as she has the full backing of the school district, who says this policy was implemented with the children's safety in mind. However, this claim was rebuked almost immediately. Most claim there was never an issue of safety in the old drop off and pick up process.
As a result of this new policy, numerous parents have pulled their children out of the school. They will send them to a private school instead. In a sign of solidarity, many teachers and other faculty members have also left.
It's unclear why Ray has such an issue with parents walking their children to school. It's a great way for them to spend more time together and strengthen their relationship. Not to mention they get to exercise while they do it, which can do wonders for you.
Also, the idea that driving would be safer than walking simply isn't true. Many are going along with this policy to keep a fragile peace, but parent Frank Young says that's a terrible idea and bad message to send to their children.
"The most toxic thing we can do for our kids is not fight for truth and justice."