DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Residents say the chaos happens like clockwork — a North Texas school zone turns into a danger zone twice a day.
Neighbors describe a Wild, Wild West type of situation outside of a Dallas middle school. Witnesses claim that almost everybody breaks the rules, including the bus drivers.
On Tuesday, CBS 11 News got the attention of the Dallas Independent School District, and now leaders are vowing to look into the situation that is allegedly happening outside of Spence Middle School.
The first day of school is always hectic, but the problem outside Spence is one that a Dallas man has been trying to get fixed since 2013.
When we started asking about the situation, nobody seemed know who is in charge of policing the school area.
The sound of the school bell ringing at Spence not only marks the end of the day, but also the beginning of what Carl Smith calls craziness.
“In a little bit, you’ll see the kids starting to run across the street right there,” Smith said pointing.
The Dallas resident doesn’t just talk about what’s happening, he watches and records everything. Looking at some of his videotape, Smith said, “Boy, that car’s really speeding through the school zone.”
There was no shortage of potentially dangerous situations. “This guy’s blocking up the intersection,” Smith said. “She’s talking on her cell phone — in a school zone.”
Smith even zeroes in on drivers who work for the school district. Smith has video of a DISD mini-bus driver and DISD truck driver speeding in the school zone.
He says the problems even involve student pedestrians. “Even though there’s a child loading this second, the stop arm is not out.” And he noticed there are no stop arms at all on the district’s new fleet of mini-buses.
When it comes to the mini-buses, a DISD spokesperson told CBS 11 News that, because the vehicles are not legally school buses, drivers are not legally obligated to stop when students are being loaded or unloaded.
District officials also said that, despite the presence of their police officers in the videos recorded by Smith, “Street parking and traffic management are not under the auspices of the Dallas ISD police.”
Smith said he began highlighting the traffic problems after coming close to being involved in a crash near the school. “I was going five miles an hour and a child darted out between the cars in front of me. I slammed on the brakes,” he recalled. “It was scary. I don’t want to hurt a kid.”
Smith told CBS 11 News that he plans to keep making the videos until someone starts paying attention.
The school district said that it would try to resolve some of the issues, but reiterated that the Dallas Police Department is in charge of traffic management.
A spokesperson for the Dallas police said that there is no reason DISD officers cannot enforce traffic laws.
After CBS 11 News spoke with the police and the school district about the situation on Tuesday, officers were seen pulling over drivers and handing out tickets on Wednesday morning.
“I just hope most people are more aware school zones are active now,” said Sr. Cpl. Reginald Jones with the Dallas Police Department. “School has started and we’ll pay closer attention.”
Mother Burshell Carey said, “As a parent, I feel like y’all should stop, pay attention to what you’re doing, because it’s a school zone.”
(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)
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