Want to be charged with trespassing? Thanks to a new school rule, that’s now a simple feat for parents of children who attend Bear Branch Elementary in Magnolia ISD. All moms and dads have to do is walk their kid home from school, and they could wind up getting charged, or worse, arrested.
Yes, you read that right.
No, this isn’t a late April Fools joke.
For reasons unknown, Bear Branch school administrators want to keep parents from walking on school grounds. Because, you know, parents can’t be trusted to supervise their own kids home after school, or something.
The ludicrous new rule, which was enacted at the beginning of the school year, has incited so much contention that some parents are transferring their kids to other schools, or even enrolling them in private school.
The principal, Holly Ray, insists that all students must take the bus, or the parent must wait in a long car pickup line, regardless of how close the child lives to the campus. This, she says, is a safety precaution.
Yes, even if they live next door, parents who walk their kids home from school are being threatened with criminal trespassing charges, and the Montgomery County Constables are actually enforcing this threat.
Some parents have called Ray’s new rule, and the way it’s being enforced, “bully tactics.” And who can blame them?
Montgomery County Constables have already served at least one Magnolia dad, Frank Young, with a citation for trespassing on “all school property of any kind.” The citation further warned that if Frank walks his own child home again, he could face criminal charges under Texas Penal Code Chapter 30.
After futile efforts to negotiate a better policy – and even helping to gather hundreds of parent signatures on a petition – Frank has pulled his kids out of Bear Branch.
“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,” Young told FOX 26. “I disagree.”
Fox26 reports that at least three other parents have also been threatened with arrest. Parents also claim that students aren’t the only ones leaving the Magnolia ISD school; teachers and staff are quitting too.
In response to the hubbub, the school’s superintendent, Dr. Todd Stephens, issued a letter to Bear Branch parents. In it, Stephens accuses an unnamed parent who publicly disagreed with the new no-walking-home policy, of “verbally harassing and physically threatening” a school staff member. He also says the school will not tolerate parents who exhibit “unruly behavior creating and environment of fear for our staff and threatening the safety of our students.”
It is unclear who this parent was or what exactly was done or said during the alleged incident. However, Stephens does say that no charges were filed against the parent in question.
Stephens also claims that only one parent has been issued a citation. However, multiple news outlets are claiming that they have spoken to at least three parents who have received them.
Stephens says that only 12 students have withdrawn so far.