Student Off-Campus Parking Safety Concerns at Kimball High School

Big changes could be in store regarding how close to campuses Dallas high school students are allowed to park.

A parking war is brewing between homeowners, the city of Dallas and teens across the school district.

The concern is not just about where students park, but why some opt to park off campus.

It is a daily struggle for residents near Kimball High School.

"I know the children need somewhere to park, but it's causing a hazard in the area," said longtime Oak Cliff resident Linda Benefield.

There are rows of cars lined up, parked off school property along Boulder Drive and in residential neighborhoods like Mapleleaf Lane.

"When I drive out to go to work, I can't see up the street," Benefield said. "It's not clear and I'm easing out every day, and yesterday I almost had an accident.”

Students' cars, she said, create a blind spot.

For some in the neighborhood, the parking situation has become the new norm.

"Sometimes there's like all around the curve maybe around 15 cars," said resident Alice Morales.

Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Casey Thomas said he received complaints from homeowners.

His research found students are not parking off-campus because of a lack of space in their school's own parking lot.

"Those students that are parking here are those who do not have a driver's license or their car is not insured," he said. "Otherwise, they would be allowed to park at school."

Requirements across the district ask students interested in parking in school lots to provide proof of their driver's license, vehicle insurance and to pay a fee of about $20 for the school year.

"If you don't have a permit or a license, you can't park on campus," one Kimball High School senior said.

The student admitted she was among the students who opt to park in front of a house and not on school grounds because of the requirements.

"Because I don"t have a license," she said.

The 18-year-old said she has insurance, but only has a learner's permit, which she inaccurately believed was sufficient to drive freely since she is already 18.

"I drive cautiously, so I feel that if I'm driving cautiously then it shouldn't be a problem," the student said.

Thomas was asked to respond to the student's assertion.

"If you are willing to take that risk and if you feel like an adult, then maybe you can pay the fees for having the car towed and any other damage that comes with the car," he said.

Dallas ISD police officers patrol the area, but are not able to police off-campus parking, according to the district's spokeswoman.

Thomas said he had been in contact with several city leaders, including top brass at the Dallas Police Department, to find a solution, including possibly increasing education for parents not to allow unlicensed students drive to school, post "No Parking" signs or bring in tow trucks.

Thomas hoped to have solidified ideas after Thanksgiving break.

One student told NBC 5 off camera her mother works and she only drives a short distance to school. The teen said, "It's either drive to school without a license or don't go to school at all."

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