Arizona HOA to build wall to block elementary students

An Arizona homeowners association says it's building a wall that would block elementary school students from a school entrance and force them to walk an extra mile.

The Rancho El Mirage Homeowners Association in Surprise, Arizona, voted to erect a wall to cut off access to the back gate to Surprise Elementary School, which is located near Dysart and Greenway roads. The group says parents have been using the street leading to the back gate as a drop-off and pick-up area, snarling traffic and blocking driveways.

Martha Loca says her family moved to a neighborhood in Surprise because of its location near the elementary school. Her kids often walk there, but that could be changing.

"I think we're all concerned because it's going to affect the families and the kids and I think we're all worried about that," said Marth Loca. 

Parents and district officials say the wall would add around 45 minutes and a mile for children. Currently, it takes students around 10 minutes to get to the campus.

 "I'm hearing they're trying to do a wall, they want the kids to go around through Grand and either Dysart, and it's a little far for the kids," said Loca. 

Dysart School District spokeswoman Renee Ryon says school officials are worried the extra mile will force students to walk along busy streets. They've been telling parents and students to avoid the area since the issue was brought up in 2018. The district was not aware of the vote until after it happened. 

The school district sent home a letter and map to parents, encouraging them to reach out to the HOA with concerns.

With students on Fall break, parents are hoping their kids aren't walled off. 

"I have to take them to school, or they have to walk, but it's going to be hard because the canal is dangerous for the kids, and the families we worry about it because there's kids who walk through the canal," said Loca.