KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
August 28, 2018
An ongoing dispute between an iconic Katy grocery store and parents of Katy Junior High students has frustrations running high. Katy Magazine reached out to both sides in hopes of finding a positive resolution.
Katy Parents Frustrated Last week, a Katy Junior High parent Ralph Morales expressed disappointment with Brookshire Brothers Grocery Store after the store manager contacted Katy ISD and asked them to notify KJH parents to stop using their parking lot as an alternate student pick-up area, and invited Katy parents to share their frustration. The notice also stated the police might be involved to rectify the situation which left many parents upset.
The following email was issued to Katy Junior High parents on August 23, 2018.
"Dear Parents/Guardians of Car-Riders,
The district has received a phone call from our neighbor, Brookshire Brothers, and has forwarded it to me. Ms. Fry, the store manager, expressed concern not only for the safety of the students, but the impact her parking lot being used as a pick-up area has had on her business. It has had a negative impact.
I spoke with her this morning, and she has asked that I appeal to you prior to her involving her corporate office and or the Katy Police Department to rectify this challenge. Please refrain from using that area as an off-site parent pick-up area. Thanks in advance for your cooperation."
According to Tim Tyler with the Katy Police Department, Brookshire Brothers is well within their rights to enforce parking restrictions, and reminds citizens that if they have requested that people do not park there, it could result in a criminal trespass violation. "The parking lot is legally owned by Brookshire Brothers. If they wanted a vehicle to move and called us, than we would ask them to move," he says.
A Harsh Decision
To Morales and other Katy junior high parents, being banned by Brookshire Brothers feels extreme considering the store that has been heavily supported by the Katy Tiger community for decades. "The lot helped alleviate additional traffic on the road and allowed for a second secure pickup for the families," says Morales Ralph Morales who has been a customer of Brookshire Brothers his entire life. "Brookshire Brothers is well within their rights. I just wish they had asked for adjustments before banning car-rider parents from their lot. It was a harsh decision that will affect many families by increasing traffic and wait times," Morales explains. Other parents concur and feel that there is no harm in parking in an open lot so close to their child's school, especially since they regularly purchase groceries there.
Several customers posted that they have seen teens pushing each other in carts through the parking lot, running in front of cars, climbing into ice machines, and openly disrespecting patrons and store management. A store employee who wishes to remain anonymous confirmed the students that hang out in the lot and inside the store after school are causing more of a problem than the parents parked and waiting, and the decision was likely more of a safety and liability concern.
"I have been in [Brookshire Brothers] several times when the kids would get out, and one time a kid knocked me down 24 weeks pregnant, and I stood up and he ran off before I could say anything," says Kylee M., a 2009 graduate of Katy High School and Katy mom.
Another mom, Diane W., feels that both sides have valid points, but that student safety should come first. "As a parent, I believe that it is risky to pick up a kid in a parking lot. I have seen several people pull into Brookshire Brothers at a high rate of speed," she says.
Statement from Brookshire Brothers Corporate Office
"Thank you for reaching out to Brookshire Brothers for a statement regarding the use of the store’s parking lot in Katy.
The safety of the students, the adults who pick them up, and all of our customers is paramount to us at Brookshire Brothers.
We realize the after-school pick-up practice has been in place for a number of years. The reason we reached out to the Junior High School principal recently was due to multiple incidents since the start of the school year.
The concerns are three fold:
Motorists using the parking lot as a short cut
Unaccompanied minors without supervision in the parking lot and inside the store
Customer and vendor comments regarding safety for all
When the store leadership reached out to the principal at Katy Junior High, the intent was to come up with a reasonable solution that would safeguard everyone.
It seems that we need to revisit with the Junior High leadership team on this matter and work toward a resolution. "
Trying to Reach a Compromise
Katy Magazine has offered to arrange a meeting between Brookshire Brothers and parents from both sides to find a mutually beneficial solution for everyone. Brookshire Brothers PR representative says they will be reaching out to the school to discuss options and alternatives.