Laney High School and Trask Middle School parents express concern about lack of safe route home following trespassing incident

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – It’s something parents shouldn’t have to worry about on a day-to-day basis – how their kids get home safely from school.

But for some Laney High School and Trask Middle School parents, their kids no longer have a safe route home.

Jennifer Hajtoviks’ son has walked home from school on the same trail since March, which includes walking through a bank parking lot.

He’s not alone – about 30 students from Trask Middle and Laney High do the same, to avoid walking on busy North College Rd, where there are no sidewalks.

“If you’re supposed to walk the edge of the road, someone’s going to get hit,” Hajtovik said.

Just this year, two students have been hit by cars in the area.

Hajtovik says earlier this week, her son was approached by a sheriff’s deputy in the bank parking lot and was told he was trespassing. She says she saw a fence and trees being placed at the border of the trail her son walks on and the bank’s property.

Hajtovik says she understands the bank is private property, but she’s shocked at the lengths the bank has gone to to prevent kids from walking through, which she says include the fence, the “prickly” trees and motion-sensored sprinklers.

She’s hoping the school district will offer an alternative, safe solution.

“You guys do know kids have actually been hit during the school year on this street. You are forcing them to the side of a very known busy street, known that kids have been hit there before. You’re forcing them there. And I was like ‘Where’s the liability in that’? Hajtovik said.

We reached out to the bank, and they provided the following statement:

“Safety is a priority for SECU – the safety of our members and everyone in our communities. With the start of each school year and especially this year, the parking lot of our Wilmington North College Road Branch experiences an excessive amount of pedestrian and vehicle traffic related to the dismissal of the nearby schools, creating safety concerns for all involved, in addition to impacting branch access for members’ conducting Credit Union business. To address these concerns, SECU has been diligently working with local school officials and local law enforcement for a safe resolution for all.”

We reached out to the New Hanover County school district and are waiting to hear back.

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