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Parents raise concerns about school safety at Oak Hill Elementary

KXAN Austin logo KXAN Austin 8/6/2022 Nabil Remadna
Parents raise concerns about school safety at Oak Hill Elementary © Provided by KXAN Austin Parents raise concerns about school safety at Oak Hill Elementary

AUSTIN (KXAN) - Some Austin ISD parents are worried about school safety at Oak Hill Elementary.

Melissa Neslund said she loves the the community and staff at the school, but school safety needs an upgrade.

“We love this school and that is why we have stayed,” said Neslund. “Our kids, and these teachers and these staff deserve to be in a safe place.”

Neslund says there are holes in the fencing surrounding the school, zipties being used to hold a gate together and other issues that raise safety concerns. Other parents brought up safety issues as well.

“This is definitely an antiquated floor plan,” said Will Dupuy, who is a parent at the school and a part of the Parent Teacher Association.

“The classroom and the layout needs to be addressed, it just does,” said Lauren Wolf, who is a parent and also a PTA member.

Oak Hill Elementary has an open floor plan, and parents tell KXAN there are no doors on some classrooms.

“Classrooms flow into classrooms, and the library is open in the middle,” Wolf explained.

Neslund said the interior of the school needs major upgrades especially in light of the Uvalde school shooting.

AISD to discuss proposals for improved safety features, resource distribution on campuses

“Low walls, shared walls, classrooms without doors,” said Neslund.

KXAN reached out to AISD to find out if they were aware of the issues and to see if anything was being done.

“We are currently conducting safety audits of every campus and doing reviews of safety procedures at every campus. Every work order involving matters of safety goes to the top of the list and is immediately dealt with. Anyone who notices something that needs to be fixed right away should work with that school’s principal to deal with this immediately. Safety is everyone’s job, and we’re grateful to those who point out needed repairs.” an Austin ISD spokesperson said.

The district has a bond up for vote this year. Both plans on the table allocate more than $18 million dollars for safety upgrades at Oak Hill Elementary, which would include reconfiguring the open concept floorplan and making the school’s entryway more secure.

These changes and additions would take time though.

“If we have to wait on remodeling then something needs to be done in the interim,” said Wolf.

“Come walk this school,” said Neslund. “Have you stepped foot in this school? Because I guarantee if you have you are probably not sending your kids to school here especially in light of the recent shootings.”

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