Dozens of high school students in Hernando County have had the shortcut from their neighborhood to their school cut off, and will now have to drive, or walk along busy roads, to get to school.
And the school district may end up shouldering the extra costs to get the students to school safely.
The students live in the Brookridge subdivision in Brooksville, which sits just south of Central High School. Up until now, the students could walk through a gate at the north end of the subdivision to get to the school.
According to a letter from the Brookridge Homeowners' Association to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office, the board voted unanimously to permanently lock the gate. They say leaving it open would jeopardize security and create additional costs. Now, a sign at the gate warns that students will no longer be allowed through as of Monday.
Now, students who must walk will have to walk a four-mile loop around their neighborhood. The route will force them to walk along State Road 50 where there are no sidewalks. They then must head north along Sunshine Grove Road, which also has no sidewalks, although they are under construction.
"The kids can't walk that far," angry grandfather Mike Dwyer said. "One of the kids is going to be hit. It's just inevitable. I don't know if the board wants to be liable for that."
Hernando School Superintendent Bryan Blavatt said the decision to permanently lock the gate was made with no consultation with the school district. He said there weren't any complaints from Brookridge residents about students.
"It's their gate, and they're going to do what they want to do," Blavatt said.
The lock will cost a lot of money, because some of the students living in Brookridge will have to be bussed to school.
"For us to sustain the buses that would be needed, that's almost $100,000," Blavatt said.
FOX 13 visited the subdivision Tuesday, and no one in the association office would speak about the gate issue. HOA president Ray Starr did not return several phone calls.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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