Judging from the comments on social media, the Lumberton Primary School transportation problem is frustrating parents and school authorities.
Concerns are that a growing student population puts pedestrians and moving traffic together in the same place at the same time.
Last year, parents could drive up or walk up to retrieve their kids after school. Parents could park in the lot on the north side of the Primary School and walk across the parking lot to collect their child.
“Now, since school started we had parent walk up in our main parking lot, but we felt that there’s some safety issues,” Katherine Waldrop, Principal Lumberton Primary School said.
As a result, the parent walk up was discontinued. No incident or injury has occurred.
However, Waldrop says a change was made out of an abundance of caution because “it wasn’t safe with all the traffic.”
The school moved additional parking to the back lot this year, leading parents to park on the Old Silsbee Highway where students and parents had to cross a busy road.
Facing a daunting safety issue, the school enacted trial afternoon release without walk up.
“So, Monday was our first day without it, and it was way over the timed schedule,” Waldrop said. “I think we loaded the last car probably at 3:40 pm, and that’s way over for everybody.”
The principal says the next step is to try an earlier release maybe “five minutes earlier to go outside and see how it works,” she said. “We are open to suggestions.”
Assistant Superintendent Gerald Chandler says it’s a dilemma that vexes the district but they are confident they will find a safe, reasonable solution.
“We ask that parents be patient with these growing pains for the campus, and want to assure everyone the decisions being made are based upon safety,” he said in an email to the Ledger.
Just this year, the Primary School registration increased by 80 students taking the total to over 975 students enrolled, which means a lot of campus traffic.
“Approximately, half of the student population participates in pick up traffic,” Chandler stated.
Speaking of the decision to temporarily end the walk up, Chandler said that traffic is flowing, ending the parent walk up due to unsafe conditions was good option.
“To address this, we have had a meeting to discuss some alternative opportunities for parents driving to pick up their children, which would allow the traffic to start moving in a quicker method,” he said. “Over the past two days, it appears the traffic conditions have improved at the campus.”
Finding a solution is clearly a work in progress. Meanwhile, Chandler and Waldrop ask parents for their patience as they try to make the afternoon pick up safe and efficient for everyone involved.