Parents worried about electric fence near Union County elementary school

WAXHAW, N.C. — There’s a push to protect students at their own Waxhaw school because of an electric fence just feet from where kids play.

A concerned Sandy Ridge Elementary parent first told Channel 9 about the fence, and a lot of parents want something done about it.

The high voltage fence sits between a horse farm and the school, which is off Waxhaw-Marvin Road.

In October, families were painting the playground as a weekend community service project. Parents told Channel 9 anchor Genevieve Curtis that a second-grader was shocked by the fence during the event.

Parent Sarah Schnell said she was there that day. She said since then, parents have been asking the school to make the area safer so it doesn’t happen again.

“A lot of parents had no idea that fence is back there,” Schnell said. “It could have been any one of our children and it could have been 10 times worse.”

Parents wrote letters to the district and started an online petition on Monday morning.

On Monday, Chopper 9 flew over the area where some parents have concerns. The school’s chain-link fence surrounds most of the school’s property and playground, but not all of it.

(Watch video below as Chopper 9 shows electric fence near Sandy Ridge Elementary School in Waxhaw)

There are openings where parents say children can easily access the electric fence.

“There is signage, the farm has signage, but let’s be honest, what kindergarten through fourth-grader knows what high voltage really means? And they’re curious,” Schnell said.

The school district told Channel 9: “We have not had a student shocked during school hours.”

Last week, the principal sent parents a list of improvements the school is prepared to make, including:

  • Adding post and cable fence to define the property line, 6 feet from adjacent property
  • New signage
  • Staff monitoring students during recess and outdoor activities
  • Staff procedures if outdoor equipment goes over the existing chain-link fence

Parents like Schnell said the improvements are a start but instead of posts and cable, they’d like the school to close the gaps in the existing chain-link fence.

“A lot of people think it’s somewhat of a band-aid,” Schnell said.

The farm was there long before the school was built. Channel 9 spoke to the owner on Monday and she said they haven’t had any issues with the fence in the 29 years it’s been up.

While it is high-voltage, she said it’s low amp so it’s enough to make you not want to touch it again but won’t seriously hurt you.

But after hearing from a parent, she said she did add more signs.