Hundreds of parents and students in Henrico County want to send a loud message to school leaders. The group walked their kids to school day to protest a proposed rezoning change that could affect students next school year.
The controversy is brewing over plans surrounding a brand new school on Pouncey Tract Road, but a new school isn't the issue as much as who might have to attend it. With signs in hand, adults and children together made their stance unquestionable.
"My fourth grader in particular, next year will be his last year, his sixth year at Short Pump Elementary School so sure he doesn't want to go," said parent Yvette Bruns.
She joined other residents in a march from their Wellesley community to Short Pump Elementary Tuesday morning. It's their neighborhood school and people who live near it fear that will change if board members choose a plan that re-routes half of the neighborhood, sending students to the new school four miles away.
"We can walk to school and we've been at this particular school and because there are options on the table keep us at Short Pump Elementary School," Bruns added.
Henrico school officials say rezoning is necessary to alleviate overcrowding and help reduce the number of trailers on campuses but parents plan to speak out at a community input session Wednesday night in opposition.
"Too much disruption really is creating a lot of havoc for families and it breaks neighborhoods a part," said parent Bob Shippee.
It's why they say they won't stop rallying, not before the school board votes on a plan in December. Parents are hoping then their mission will be accomplished.
"We continue to offer opinions on these options, what we see. We give our feedback. Most importantly, we do need to give our feedback," Bruns added.
Because their voice is strengthened by each new parent that joins in this collective outcry.
"I had about 250 friends with me as we walked to school today," Shippee said.
Wellesley isn't the only community waging war against the rezoning proposals. Other communities in Henrico like Wyndham and Grey Oaks have very similar concerns. Eleven schools could be affected by the rezoning. Out of 7,800 elementary students in Henrico, 600 would be transferred to the new school. School officials say it would help alleviate over crowding and trailers on campuses.
School leaders will meet at Hermitage High School at 6 p.m. to get community input.
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