Safety, new beginnings emphasized as kids return to Houston area schools

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by Larry Seward and Brad Woodard / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on August 26, 2013 at 12:36 PM

Updated Monday, Aug 26 at 5:20 PM

MISSOURI CITY, Texas – As students headed back to class Monday, the rain only heightened concerns about safety.

At Briargate Elementary, Principal Valeria Maclin greeted students as they returned to the campus.

“Good morning sweetie. Good morning, how are you?” Maclin asked first-grader Shayanne Grady and her younger brother Justin. Shayanne explained how she was excited to be back after the summer break.

“Because you get to go and swing and play,” Shayanne said. “Yeah, me too,” Justin added.

He’s going to kindergarten for the first time, but all their father Chris Grady can think about is their safety.

Briargate’s principal said most students walk to school. That is why this year they are trying something new.

Maclin and Fort Bend ISD police threw a kick-off pep rally turned “walking school bus” to teach children right from wrong.

The program allows children to meet at designated places and walk to school safely. Currently it’s only being implemented at Briargate Elementary, but FBISD police hope to see it district wide.

“What we want to teach them is walk in group. Walk in designated paths. Stay on sidewalks. Stay in open areas. Don’t cut behind buildings, through yards and trying to cut fences and all that,” FBISD Police Chief David Rider said.

Rider said they have had issues with stray dogs and other crimes around some campuses. He along with parents hope lessons taught here make a difference.

“It’s been a long time coming for something like that,” Chris Grady said.

In other parts to the Houston area, at Thurgood Marshall Elementary, old friends embark on a new journey.

The first day of school marks the end of an era -- the day North Forest ISD is officially absorbed by Houston ISD.

“We feel so happy that this district changes to HISD because I look a lot before I put my child here,” one parent said.

HISD Superintendent Terry Grier marked the occasion by touring the school, which has been completely revamped.

“The school is clean, a beautiful facility. New technology here. All new teachers. New staff top to bottom, and they’re ready. They’re ready,” the superintendent said.

The students here, among 4,000 in HISD to receive free school supplies from Reliant, seem to agree.

“Meet new people. Just nice teachers. Whew, it’s much better,” one student said.

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