OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – School safety is always top-of-mind for parents, and some, are now expressing concern about an after-school pick-up line at an Oklahoma City school. KFOR went to check out the complaints at Cesar Chavez Elementary School in the southeast part of the city Friday.
The school pick-up line, starting at the school’s location of 600 Southeast Grand Blvd, is three-blocks long and goes over a set of train tracks.
We witnessed a number of reckless drivers and near-accidents. A few drivers rolled down their windows to tell us they hope the issue gets addressed.
“So, you see a lot of people parked on the actual tracks,” said grandmother Jo Simon.
And the rail line is just the beginning of her worries as she picks up her two grandkids from Cesar Chavez.
The after-school pick-up line goes west down Grand Blvd, over train tracks, and then a couple of blocks further.
Simon told KFOR some drivers are stopped on the tracks when the crossing gates lower, and fears what would happen if a train hit a vehicle she was behind.
“If I were parked behind there, then I would probably be thinking, ‘oh, my gosh, there’s going to be debris coming at me ‘ and I can’t back up,” she said. “And people just not wanting to wait for the train, kind of bullying other people with their vehicles to move.”
Simon’s daughter said on Monday she saw a family stuck on the tracks jump out their vehicle to avoid a train collision.
“She actually witnessed a vehicle being hit by the train,” Simon said of the aftermath. “It was terrifying.”
KFOR saw a number of cars stopped on the tracks Friday while the crossing gates were up. We also saw many impatient drivers leaving the long pick-up line to go down the opposing lane — at the risk of getting hit by oncoming traffic.
“They need to either have a school resource officer or a parent volunteer or somebody standing out there on either side of the tracks, or even have a police car, something out there that says, don’t do this,” Simon suggested.
Oklahoma City Public School District’s sent KFOR the following statement on the concerns:
“Today is our seventh day in session and many of our school sites are still refining procedures, like dismissal. While dismissal procedures are controlled by our campuses, the traffic in surrounding areas are not controlled by OKCPS. Questions related to crossing guards, traffic issues, signs and/or accidents should be directed to OKCPD.”
“The worst-case scenario is that a car with a well-meaning, happy little family just trying to get home from school is going to be seriously injured,” Simon concluded.
In the meantime, KFOR has reached out to the Oklahoma City Police Department to find out if they’ll get involved in the situation.