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Jeannette parents voice concern over new pickup location

| Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, 9:02 p.m.

The Jeannette School Board came under fire this week for its new policy requiring parents picking up their McKee Elementary School children in grades three through five to meet their youngsters off the elementary school property when classes are dismissed.

Two parents at the school board meeting on Monday questioned the wisdom of the policy preventing the parents from driving onto the elementary school property to get their children after school. The school district has directed the parents to meet their children at the administration building on Park Street, which is across the street from McKee Elementary School, or along Michigan and Washington avenues, both of which intersect Park Street at the administration building. The policy will force students and their teachers to wait outside, even in times of inclement weather, they said.

Patty Lewis contended that having the students wait outside, across the street from the school, is a bad idea.

“It is just an accident waiting to happen down there. I'd hate to see any one of these students get hurt,” Lewis said.

Anita Fennel, who drives to get her son at McKee Elementary School, said the decision to move the pick-up site off school property creates its own safety problem.

“We have a real issue. We have people driving fast down (Park Street) by the administration building,” said Fennel, who must pick up her son at the school because her family is not eligible for having their child bused because they live one mile from the school district.

Superintendent Matthew Hutcheson said the pick-up procedures for McKee Elementary students in grades three to five was changed for safety reasons. The combination of buses transporting students from the school and cars being driven onto the school property to get students at dismissal time created a safety hazard.

“It was causing problems with our dismissal,” Hutcheson said.

Hutcheson said that only about 20 students in grades three through five are affected by the change because the other students are bused.

In other business, Matt Lebe, the school district's athletic director, announced that 45 students athletes will be recognized at Thursday night's televised football game between the Jeannette Jayhawks and the Washington High School Prexies for earning a 3.5 grade average of the past school year, said Matt Lebe, the district's athletic director.

Lebe said the names of those who made the “all-academic team” will be placed on the school district's website.

The board heard from a new student liaison, senior Monique Redman, who questioned if the dress code could be altered to allow students to wear more colors.

The school district in November 2009 implemented a dress code requiring students to wear polo shirts, turtlenecks, sweaters or dress shirts in blue, red or white, with dress pants, skirts or jumpers in khaki or navy. Footwear was restricted to dress shoes, boots, or sneakers with blue, black, brown, red or white socks or tights. Belts were optional, but they had to be black or brown.

Director Joseph Yorio said he has received positive remarks from visitors to the school about the district implementing a dress code for students.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or