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Parents Worried About LES Closure Drive to MPES

Superintendent blasts event, calling it an "extremely irresponsible act." Differing numbers on involved cars were given by opposite sides.

A photo of the convoy, provided by behalf of the group protesting the possible LES closure.
A photo of the convoy, provided by behalf of the group protesting the possible LES closure.

A group of parents against the possible closure of Lewisboro Elementary School drove to neighboring Meadow Pond Elementary School on Tuesday morning, an act intended to see what traffic could look like if LES is shuttered and if MPES gets displaced kids through redistricting.

In a press release on behalf of the parents, it was stated that a trip was made from Lewisboro's town center to the school and involved around 20 cars. 

The announcement states, "The convoy was present at Meadow Pond’s entrance at the school’s scheduled start time of 9:15 a.m., snarling traffic and delaying bus arrivals."

The contention from the press release is that 134 kids would be transferred from LES to MPES. A photo provided with the announcement, one of several sent out, shows a car with that figure painted on a side.

The purpose of the demonstration was due to the lack of a traffic study from the Katonah-Lewisboro school district.

The demonstration has led to a backlash, according to a story from The Lewisboro Ledger, which reported staff and parental response. The paper reported that barriers were placed around a loop for the MPES parking lot due to protestors driving through spaces restricted to buses at the drop-off period. Speeding was also reported in the paper's account.

The press release contends that the speed limit was observed.

A video with highlights of the action has been posted on YouTube, under the account of Save KL Schools, a group that has been skeptical about closing LES for the following school year.

Superintendent Paul Kreutzer blasted the event in a statement posted on the Katonah-Lewisboro school district's website.

The statement is the following, with quotes added:

"This morning during arrival at Meadow Pond Elementary School, approximately 40 cars staged what appears to be a protest against the potential closure of the Lewisboro Elementary School. The individuals who took part in this irresponsible demonstration created havoc and significant safety concerns for staff and families at arrival time.  They clogged traffic lanes in front of Meadow Pond and in the road in front of the building, and drove through the bus-unloading zone, a highly unsafe and forbidden practice. These acts put our children in danger and were emotionally distressing to our staff, our students, and their parents.  As a result, police were called for assistance. 

"This was an extremely irresponsible act. Our schools and school grounds are secure facilities for those who work in the buildings and attend the schools. During the school day, only individuals with defined and District-approved reasons for being on site are allowed on the grounds. A spontaneous act like this is dangerous and inappropriate. The Board of Education continues to provide adequate public forums for expression regarding the issue that these residents apparently were protesting.

"Anyone who has information on those who led this irresponsible act are requested to contact my office or the Town of Lewisboro Police. Anonymity will be guaranteed."

School board President Charles Day felt that the matter involved a small group. District officials received emails from people who were outraged by the behavior, according to Day. 

The issue of closing LES, which is under consideration by the school district due to declining elementary school-level enrollment, will be revisited on Thursday when the School Closure Task Force a set to present a draft educational impact statement to the Board of Education. The board will then decide on Dec. 19 whether to continue the process. If a continuation is agreed to then a public hearing will be held, followed by a vote on Jan. 23 for whether to close LES for the 2014-15 school year.

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