Parents upset because son can't go to nearby school

June 14, 2012 6:48:00 AM PDT
An Apex family is fighting to get their son into a school that is right across the street from their new home.

It's just one of the issues critics raised with the new school choice plan -- what happens to families who move in after the school selection process. For the Bender family who just moved to Apex, it means their son can't go to Apex High School even though it's literally right across the street.

"At first, I was just baffled by what we got," said father Joey Bender.

Joey Bender said he can't believe his son, Will, may not be playing football, wrestling or lacrosse for Apex High School this upcoming year.

Since Apex High School is overcrowded and there are more than 90 other rising freshmen waiting to get in, Will Bender is being assigned to Green Hope High School. A bus will have to pick him up and take him 7 miles from his house.

"Financially, it doesn't make sense for us or for them (to send him to a school far away)," said Joey. "When Google maps shows us 16 feet or walk 3 seconds."

ABC11 showed our video of the short distance between the home and the school to Wake County School Board Chairman Kevin Hill.

"I can't really argue with that," said Hill. "Other kids in the area are likely going to Green Hope so it wouldn't be a bus just for him but I won't argue with the logic. I can empathize with them."

The Benders will have to apply for a transfer to get into Apex High School. Officials said their request will first be denied because of overcrowding. So they'll have to appeal to the board. Hill said proximity is certainly in their favor.

The Bender family is keeping their hopes up.

"I'm trying to be optimistic," said Joey. "Otherwise, my blood pressure will go up. I'm at the mercy of the board."

Even if Will Bender transfers into Apex, he and his parents will have to get special permission to participate in athletics. Wake County has a policy in place that usually makes transfer students sit out a year to make sure there's no recruiting going on between schools.

Officials told ABC11 that the best bet for other families new to the area is to wait until after the waitlists resolve in mid-July before registering for school. That way, they'd have a better chance of getting in.

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