News 6 investigates more dangerous school shortcuts

Near-drowning of 8-year-old Orange County boy prompts safety concerns


ORLANDO, Fla. – In the same week an 8-year-old student nearly drowned trying to cross a canal near Riverside Elementary School, News 6 uncovered another dangerous school shortcut.

Orange County Public Works crews were back out at the accident site Thursday morning, adding another two gates around the blue pipe sheriff's deputies said Shamore Franklin tripped and fell off of.

According to the incident report, witnesses said Franklin was with a group of students, trying to take a shortcut through the no trespassing area.

Neighbors on Westlake Boulevard near Wekiva High School told News 6 they've seen children taking shortcuts through a county owned retention pond behind the neighborhood.

"It's not supposed to be any trespassing back here, but they go this way and they also go along that backside near those houses," said Shawn Oliver, a neighbor near the broken gate.

A gate that used to circle a playground in the neighborhood has been destroyed, leaving a gaping hole. Oliver said students usually take the shortcut before and after school, sometimes jumping private fences across the pond.

"No one has done anything about it. This has been years," said Oliver.

"I heard that it was the homeowner's association gate," said another neighbor, Sherrina Stewart.

News 6 called the Orange County Public Works 3-1-1 hotline to report damages. Representatives said the damaged fence on Westlake Boulevard is property of the homeowners association. Neighbors told News 6 they are rethinking the open area.

"At least fix or repair the fence. Maybe put a fence up around the whole perimeter or something," said Oliver.

"I believe that they will do what they can to make sure that the gate is fixed," said Stewart.

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