MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Public Schools has been forced to block the road parallel to Marshall High School with school buses after reckless drivers continued to drive on the school's lawn, threatening pedestrians' safety.
Drivers have been on the lawn multiple times in the past few days. The Milwaukee Police Department says they are investigating, particularly one instance in which a stolen car was used.
MPD says last Tuesday just before 3 p.m., someone drove the car onto the school lawn, almost hitting pedestrians. Police say the car was later found empty and determined it had been stolen, but that it had not yet been reported stolen to authorities. In that incident, police say they are seeking unknown suspects.
Common Council President and Alderman Cavalier Johnson said in a statement Thursday that two drivers were on the lawn at the time last Tuesday. MPS officials said during a press briefing Thursday that reckless driving incidents have occurred on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with not more than 2-3 cars each day.
“I don't believe there were more than two or three cars each day that was involved. So a small number, but certainly had a serious impact and it is something we wanted to address in a serious matter right away,” said Jennifer Smith, Regional Superintendent with MPS.
On Thursday, TMJ4 News crews spotted another driver driving in circles on the school lawn. Several people were standing and walking nearby. The car then began swerving along 64th Street into the wrong lane.
RECKLESS DRIVING: Just now a driver was seen recklessly driving onto the school grounds of Marshall High School after poles were recently put up around the school to prevent this from happening. @tmj4 @TonyAtkinsTV pic.twitter.com/4Mv6FFBAYq— Taylor Lumpkin (@TaylorLumpkinTV) August 19, 2021
The day before, officials put up barriers including rocks and poles in the area to prevent the drivers.
Ald. Johnson said in the statement that "It makes me angry to see how careless and reckless these drivers were operating, and to see how scared these innocent students were during the incidents."
According to his statement:
"Students could have been critically hurt or killed, and for what? A silly display for a few seconds in a car.
As a community we need to have grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, siblings – and especially parents – discuss with their younger kin the dangers of this sort of behavior behind the wheel. We’ve had four homicides by reckless drivers in the past two weeks, and those incidents were as preventable as they were horrific.
What took place at Marshall on Tuesday could have had a similar deadly result, and simply put, that would have been a new homicide case for Milwaukee Police."
MPS officials also said no suspects have been identified. They said they have not received any requests for transfers from students or parents, but they are open to working with them in that regard. Officials are also monitoring other schools for reckless driving incidents and are prepared to use similar tactics, such as blocking the road with school buses, where incidents arise.
Students and people living nearby say this isn't the first time. Some shared social media and doorbell videos of reckless driving throughout the week.
"It's very scary. It's not just the safety of the school. This happens all the time during school hours, not school hours. On the street,” said parent Kizzy Powell.
Milwaukee Police Association President Dale Bormann reacted to a video of one of the incidents, saying "the City of Milwaukee needs to come up with some type of plan to combat that, and it is not just the traffic unit that can do it. Parents have to be responsible,” he said.
Hoping to prevent reckless cases like this is Ms. Pasha. She's a drivers ed instructor throughout MPS and at Marshall High working to let younger drivers know the importance of safety.
"That's all it takes is a few seconds and I push that in the classroom. And like I said, I want to go home at the end of the day, I have other plans I want to do. So for me, my job is highly stressful, especially with this," said Pasha.
And for anyone that finds it funny, she has a message.
“Who are you trying to impress?” said Pasha. “I don't want to hear any one of my students getting killed or a friend getting killed.”
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Milwaukee Police at (414) 935-7272 or Crime Stoppers at (414) 224-TIPS or P3 Tips App to remain anonymous.