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Parents concerned about student safety at school near 'high-speed' road

Parents of kids at the KIPP Texas-Austin campus off Cameron Road are asking the City to create a safer environment for students.

AUSTIN, Texas — Candice and Zach McNair have two kids that go to school at KIPP Austin Comunidad, part of the KIPP Texas-Austin campus off Cameron Road. The school reports there are more than 1,750 kids that go to that campus, which is kindergarten through high school. 

Candice McNair said she first started worrying about the safety of students, teachers and parents when she got in an accident last year. 

"This road right here, especially with a lot of commuters coming in from Pflugerville and to the greater Austin area, I think it just makes it very crowded, makes for a lot of people who are trying to get to work on time and may not necessarily notice that there’s a school back here," said McNair. "It’s set a little bit far back from the road, which is good because it protects our students in that way. But they may not notice there’s a school here because there is no school zone to caution them that they’re approaching a school."

Cameron Road has six lanes, with a 40 mph speed limit. McNair said she believes people are driving much faster than that since she said some are approaching a highway.

Police said there was a car crash around 7:15 a.m. on Tuesday. The school said in a statement that several students were injured and taken to the hospital.

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This is the school's full statement: 

"This morning, one of our KIPP Texas-Austin families was involved in an accident in front of our campus in their personal vehicle. Several of our students riding in the car were transported to a local hospital. The safety and security of our students, teachers, and faculty is our priority and we are so thankful our students involved in this incident were not seriously injured. Two years ago, our neighbors formed a coalition to petition the City of Austin for a school zone and medians on Cameron Rd between Rutherford & 183 to help with safety and traffic flow. We joined them in that effort. Unfortunately, that request was denied by the City of Austin. We more than 1,750 kindergarten through 12th grade students on this campus. We will continue to encourage our families to take safety precautions around this area and remind them of the other entrances to the campus so they can get their students to school safely. We hope today’s incident will be the impetus to have the City revisit the area before something more serious takes place."

The Austin Transportation Department said the primary purpose of a reduced speed school zone is to increase driver awareness at a location where school children are crossing, in the vicinity of the school, and not just to reduce traffic speeds near a school. 

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It also pointed out there is a crosswalk about a block away from the school. 

McNair said she still gets anxious when she goes to drop off or pick up her kids from school. She said she hopes to see some change before something else bad happens.

"My greatest fear would just be that there is a student that is seriously injured, or their life is taken from them because there is a car that’s not paying attention," she said. 


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