Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Open second entrance to school campus
Safety concerns have led to the installation of a safety fence along U.S. Highway 87 in front of Victoria West High School. The fence stretches from the school's one entrance to private property next to the campus and is intended to prevent parents from dropping off students next to the highway.
The attempt to protect students by trying to prevent parents from dropping their children off next to the highway is a step in the right direction. It is a shame that it had to come to this, but the district must always act in a way that safeguards the students and the school campus. Students need to be dropped off in a safe place, not along a busy highway. However, the fence only goes so far to fix the safety problem. Students can still walk around the fence, especially if they plan to cross the street on foot to visit the nearby convenience store, which is how one 16-year-old student was struck by a car in May.
Obviously, there is only so much that can be done to protect students without transforming the school campus into the equivalent of a prison facility. However, Victoria West still faces one safety issue that needs to be addressed.
The Victoria Independent School District needs to find a way to open another entrance and exit to the school campus. Every morning and every afternoon, the highway is inundated with high levels of traffic from parents trying to drop off their kids, people coming to and from work, school buses and other traffic. These long lines and increased traffic are causing an increased safety risk for both students and drivers.
VISD should look into adding another entrance either farther down 87 or off the Zac Lentz Parkway Loop. Adding an entrance on the Loop would be a little more difficult because the land between the campus and the Loop is privately owned, but something must be done to alleviate and improve the flow of traffic around the school.
Of course, any effort to open a new entrance will take time and money, but it is an investment worth making. Student safety must come first. Students can still walk around the fence, but offering a second entrance would reduce the congestion and delay that leads students and parents to take these risks.
This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.