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Elementary students play near busy road

READ MORE: Elementary students play near busy road
NEW HANOVER COUNTY -- If you live off a busy road, you may be hesitant to let your kids play near it. But one local parent is wondering why his son's school is letting hundreds of kids do just that. The principal of Sunset Park Elementary School says she has no other choice than to let students play near the road. Mike Elders's son is in the third grade at Sunset Park Elementary. "I went to go pick him up and when I pulled up to the front of the school a ball was rolling out into the street and a child was chasing it," he said. "I had to slam on my brakes to keep from hitting the child and I was horrified." Elder says his son told him that's not the only close call that's happened during play time. "He said, oh yeah, there was a UPS truck that came by here and actually had to swerve off the road to keep from hitting a child," Elder said. For the past year Sunset Park Elementary has had to hold recess in a small area in front of the school -- right next to the road. School officials say construction started in the fall in the area where kids used to play. But Elder says the new play area isn't safe either. "There are children's lives in danger here and they're at risk. Their little lives are being jeopardized by some adult's decision to have them play in front of a school. And that's wrong," Elder said. "It looks like almost that the school is waiting on a tragedy to happen to make a decisive move on this." Principal Tyese Scott Oates says it's unfortunate this is the only outdoor space left for the kids to play... And that the school is taking extra precautions. Scott-Oates said, "What we've done to make sure they're safe is add supervision, so we've got extra people out there with them… Things do happen, balls do roll, the children are very aware of the rules and expectations and they do a good job of maintaining what we ask them to do." A spokesperson for New Hanover County schools informed NewsChannel 3 that a temporary fence will be put in front of the school as an extra precaution, hopefully next week, but could not answer why it took this long to be put up, especially since kids have been playing near the road all year. Also, we were told children do not play in the area roped off for construction for safety reasons, but right after the interview, we caught a PE class playing in the undesignated area. A school spokesperson says the teacher got nervous when he saw our cameras, so he took the kids around back and that it was a one-time incident that won't happen again.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


PE Teacher STILL Looking Good....

So now that the PE teacher is no longer at Sunset, are you stalking him at his new job watching him outside with the children claiming you are there to drop off your kids??? I mean, really? You are so transparent it is ridiculous. And Alabama avenue averages 3 cars an hour. Give me a break.


I am a parent of a Kindergarten student at Sunset Park. Many days I have had to stop a child from running in the street after a ball, I have watched to PE teacher tell the student to go get the ball while he was watching them many feet away. Mrs. Scott-Oats said they have extra staff outside during PE time. I have only seen two adults outside once this whole year. During recess time the teachers are outside many times alone with a whole class of children (18 or more). The year is about over why is it now she wants to put up a fence for "safety" This is not the only issues this school and principal has I am looking in to another school for my child next year. Because of how unhappy I have been with the school and the way it is being ran by this principal.


Your post is so poorly written it is difficult to understand what you are saying. Maybe you should take a remedial English class instead of sitting in front of the school and then complaining. I don't know... just a thought.

Your right you don’t know.

Your right you don’t know. Unless you have something to say about the issue of safety at this school you shouldn’t spend your time commenting on things you know nothing about. Yes I miss-typed a couple of things in my comment. I type fast and I’m human sue me. And I don’t sit in front of the school and complain, Not only do I volunteer at my child’s school on a regular bases, I take my child to school every morning and pick my child up at the end of each the day. Get a life and comment on things that concern you. Better yet do us all a favor and keep your mouth closed.

PE Teacher Looking Good....

A few questions I have...1) Why were you watching the PE Teacher teach? Doesnt this seem strange? 2) Why are you at the school many days "spying" on what is happening? Do you work? Also, Alabama avenue is not a busy road. The speed limit is 15mph. I guess if you are on foot thats pretty fast, but a moving vehicle...I dont think so.

To answer your questions. I

To answer your questions. I don’t watch the PE teacher I walk my child into the school EVERY morning, so no its not strange its called being a good parent. You should try it. I volunteer and stay involved at my child’s school on a regular bases. Yes I do work, I work at night so I can take my child to school in the mornings and I’m working on my Associates Degree but I still make the time to stay involved , for your ignorant information.

I believe it's called being an involved parent...

Many parents, especially at the elementary level, volunteer at their children's schools by helping out in class, reading to students, tutoring, performing office work, participating in PTA activites. We also regularly visit campus to attend or participate in school events, teacher/parent conferences, or to have lunch with their children, to name just a few perfectly legitimate and necessary reasons for being at the school on "many days". Spying? Strange? I think not.

Sunset Park Elem.

The children were playing out front because of construction? I couldn't see any construction. The playground has been closed all year? What are they supposed to be constructing and when is it supposed to be completed? Wouldn't it be very easy for a child to disappear off that playing area, either wander off or be snatched?

Busy road?

Where is there a busy road back near Sunset Park Elementary? Alabama is just a small side streets. If a UPS driver had to swerve off the road then maybe that driver should slow down.

busy rode

when was the last time youve driven down that street? it is a very busy street. alot of people use that as a cut through from college to oleander. i have always had problems with that school sitting pretty much right on two streets. DO SOMETHING BEFORE SOMEONE LOSES THEIR CHILD!

Alabama Ave?

Since when did Alabama Ave move anywhere near College RD/Oleander? Are you possibly thinking of Lake Ave? Near Roland Grise?

sunset park school

seems like a no-brainer - get the construction area cleared out of the way - there is no construction started! So, let the kids play where they were! Why is this stuff there so long with nothing happening? When will it start? When will it end? Why was it blocked off when construction has no plans to start, and no place for the kids to play?? What is going on???

All of these postings...

I moved to Wilmington a few months ago. My daughter will be attending Kindergarten at Sunset in just a few days. I have made a few visits to the school. To agree with one postee, this school is nowhere even close to a route between Oleander and College. It is nestled in a relatively peaceful, wooded area. As it was Summertime when I visited the school, I can imagine the scene is much different during the active school year. I see no problem with parents visiting their children at school or lending their helpful hands to a very busy, and underpaid, staff. Anyone who lays claim that a parent is spying on their child at school should review the definition of spying. As a parent, you have a legal right to observe your child during the normal course of their school day. If you show up and announce yourself, you may not see the usual way things are done. The best way to be sure you are catching a candid observation is to not announce your presence. Many parents do that on a regular basis to ensure the safety and welfare of their children. Construction takes time. It may seem that nothing is going on to the untrained eye, but many of the tasks involved in construction are not known to the general population. For instance, if concrete is laid, it must cure before construction can continue. Maybe soil samples had to be taken. Until results are back, no one should go into an area that is under testing. Maybe asbestos was removed or lead paint and if that is the case, fine particals of these items can be inhaled. Maybe construction was halted due to a lack of payment. There could be a plethera of possible solutions to the area being marked off. Not having an adequate fence in place is inexcusable, though. The school should have thought about that prior to the onset of construction. Operational Risk Management (ORM) should be a key principle in managing the day to day tasks of our precious children. It is good to leave a warning out there for new parents, but if you have no solution to the problem, you are just complaining. Where was the PTA in all of this? Did anyone take a stand? Why not block off that street? It isn't that busy.