Students' shortcut to school poses safety hazard

After some bus routes were cut, students say it's the only way for them to get to school
February 19, 2014 3:29:22 PM PST
Dozens of Katy ISD students are literally getting to and from school one stepping stone at a time.

Students at Cinco Ranch High and Cinco Ranch Junior High say they walk through a drainage ditch as a shortcut to get home in the Falcon Ranch subdivision. Parents say their kids have been forced to walk to and from school for more than a year now after Katy ISD reduced their bus routes.

Daniel Peirano says he rides his bike to get to Cinco Ranch High every day. And although he doesn't think it's dangerous, he does admit it could be tricky.

"When it's rainy, it gets slippery over here," he said.

Resident Leanne Hubert said, "They took away our bus service last year and it left my children no other way to get to and from school but to walk."

Hubert's son also crosses the Willowfork Drainage Ditch every day. She says he's even had to rescue another student after falling in.

She said, "They made a human chain. My son was submerged in this water, in the bayou and he caught the child as he was coming down stream."

Our cameras saw dozens of students crossing that ditch to get to their homes in the Falcon Ranch Subdivision.

"Take off your shoes and you roll up your jeans to your knees to cross," said freshman Sarah Douglas.

Robert Serrett, president of the local Falcon Ranch homeowners' association, said, "You can tell the kids not to do it, but they're still going to do it."

Serratt wants Katy ISD to build bridges over the ditch.

"I think if the school takes away our bus service, they should give us something to make sure that our children are safe," Hubert said.

Katy ISD issued the following statement: "District officials are aware of parents' concerns regarding the bridge over the bayou near Cinco Ranch High School and the potential dangers for students walking to and from school. Because this is not school owned or controlled property, KISD does not have a practice for expending district or state funds on such infrastructure. District officials, however, will be making recommendations on possible solutions to Fort Bend County and Willowfork Drainage District. In the meantime, KISD discourages students from using the dirt path along this bayou as it is not one of the district's recommended safe routes to school. Instead, we urge all families to use the school routes already identified by the district in an effort to ensure the safety of all students walking to and from school."

ABC13 worked on this story with the help of our Houston Community Newspaper partners.

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