Three mothers voice their concerns about student pickup policy during @MagnoliaISD board meeting

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There’s national interest in what is going on with the Magnolia Independent School District. People are incredulous that a school could ban parents from walking to pick up their children from Bear Branch Elementary School, but concerned parents tell FOX 26 News that it’s not just about a dismissal policy that prohibits students from walking (with or without parents) to and from school. They say it’s about a school treading on parental rights while the district ignores their complaints.

Both Heather Burke and Lindsey Simmons spoke at the Magnolia ISD board meeting on April 11. They are the parents to be threatened with a trespassing charge most recently by the school and law enforcement officers if they walk to pick up their children again. Burke says her family lives 0.2 mile away from Bear Branch Elementary. Lindsey Simmons and her family live 0.1 mile from the school.

Two mothers who spoke at the meeting told the school board that law enforcement officers came to their door to tell them the next time they try to walk their children home, the could be charged with trespassing.

These parents have not “gone to the media” to get a resolution to the problem, but on Monday night they did take their complaints public after numerous attempts to work out the problem quietly. They say the school is infringing on their parental rights, and even if that’s fine with some of the parents at the school, it is not acceptable to them. They hope speaking up will force a resolution so they do not have to challenge the district in court.

FOX 26 News reporter Andrea Watkins told Magnolia ISD well in advance of the meeting that she would be asking the district for a response to the comments made at the meeting. She was told that neither the school board members nor the superintendent give interviews and the district would also decline issuing any kind of statement.

Carey Gregg, a Bear Branch Elementary student’s mother who supports the school’s dismissal policy, spoke at the Magnolia ISD board meeting and says it has not been a burden for her to pick up her children from the car rider line. She’s also unhappy that this issue, banning walkers, has cast a negative light on the school and entire community.

While Gregg’s feelings about the media attention are understandable, it’s important to point out how the opposing parents tried to work something out with the district WITHOUT involving the media. In fact, the two mothers who have the greatest grievance with the school still have not involved the media. The only reason they spoke at the school board meeting on April 11 is because they are tired of being repeatedly ignored.


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