Parents raise concerns about school safety at Oak Hill Elementary School

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

Melissa Neslund said that she loves the community and the school staff, but school safety needs improvement.

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

Neslund says there are holes in the fences surrounding the school, zip ties being used to hold down a gate, and other issues that pose safety concerns. Other parents also mentioned security issues.

“This is definitely an old-fashioned blueprint,” said Will Dupuy, who is a parent at the school and part of the PTA.

“The classroom and design 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 in 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 improvements, especially in light of the Uvalde school shooting.

“Low walls, shared walls, classrooms with no doors,” Neslund said.

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 security audits at each campus and reviewing security procedures at each campus. Every work order related to safety issues goes to the top of the list and is addressed immediately. Anyone who notices something that needs to be fixed immediately should work with the principal of that school to fix it immediately. Safety is everyone’s job, and we are grateful to those who point out needed repairs.” an Austin ISD spokesperson said.

The district has a bond to vote this year. Both plans on the table allocate more than $18 million for safety improvements at Oak Hill Elementary School, which would include reconfiguring the open-concept floor plan and making the school’s entrance more secure.

However, these changes and additions would take time.

“If we have to wait for the remodel, then something has to be done in the meantime,” Wolf said.

“Come walk around this school,” Neslund said. “Have you ever set foot in this school? Because I guarantee you, if you are, you probably won’t be sending your kids to school here, especially in light of the recent shootings.”

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