LEBANON, Tenn. - Road rage, fender benders, and traffic tie-ups are things you would expect to run into when driving down a busy interstate. In the parking lot of a local high school, they're a bit more unusual.
That's why parents and students at Wilson County's brand new Lebanon High School said they are frustrated and fed up.
"Since the first day, it's been horrible," said parent Carlotta Williams. "And I don't think it's going to get any better. Actually, I think it's getting worse."
A few students told NewsChannel 5 the slow-moving traffic has made them late to school in the mornings. Parents who drop their kids off said it's even made them late to work.
"We have a new school and a new location and a new school year. We are asking everyone to just be patient, to bear with us. We are trying to do the best we can," said David Burton, Director of Safety for Wilson County Schools.
Lebanon Police Chief Scott Bowen said his officers were asked to help assist with and monitor traffic before the school year began.
He said he's thrilled about the community's newest school, but on Tuesday, he said Director of Schools Mike Davis made a bad decision.
That's because the school opened up a back gate that dumps traffic out into a neighborhood, and it is only supposed to be used for emergency responders. Bowen said Davis agreed to that policy during the planning process back in 2008.
"Hickory Ridge Road is not engineered to handle that kind of traffic," Bowen said.
So when the gate was opened up on Tuesday, and some 1,700 student drivers spilled onto the street, Bowen and other Lebanon city officials were flooded with phone calls from angry residents of that neighborhood.
Bowen said it's an unacceptable solution, and he won't allow it to happen again.
"Davis may open the gate, but cars won't be allowed to go out because we're not going to get someone killed over his poor decision," he said.
Davis referred our questions to Director of Safety David Burton, who said he made sure the gate remained closed on Wednesday.
"The gates were open yesterday to try something," he said. "There was a miscommunication and misunderstanding with that, and the gates were locked up today."
Parents said the power struggle taking place doesn't help their current situation.
"Nobody can tell us anything; all we know is that they're aware of the problem. And so am I, but I can't do anything about it," said Williams.
Burton said they've already made some small changes, and engineers are conducting a study right now to determine the volume of traffic at Lebanon High School. He said that should help find a permanent solution.
If the school system does decide to utilize that emergency gate, Chief Bowen said his officers are standing by to shut down Hickory Ridge Road.