Mount Vernon school merger has parents concerned for child safety

With less than a month before the first day of school, there’s a shakeup in the Mount Vernon school district.

The district told elementary school parents on a Zoom meeting Wednesday night that students who attend Rebecca Turner Elementary will be moved to the nearby Benjamin Turner middle school.

"I’m suspicious that the timing of this doing it in the middle of August when people are gone on vacation is part of the strategy" said parent Ben Bakke.

The Bakke family has a daughter with autism going into second grade. Mom and dad are concerned about Isabella, her well-being and how she will adjust to a new environment.

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"This is going to be a huge adjustment for her, and we don’t have enough time to prepare her for it" said Bianca Lopez-Bakke.

Acting Mount Vernon school superintendent Dr. K Veronica Smith confirmed the school switch in a statement to Fox 5 saying Rebecca Turner will now house an alternative housing program and that she understands "that change can be difficult and acknowledge the timing is also difficult. But, we want to form a partnership with parents."

As for safety concerns, the district is promising security guards at every entrance and on each floor of each building. 

Officials say they are also building a fence to separate the buildings to prevent interaction with students from other schools. 

The first day of school is September 7.