The sentiment was the same from several family members of York City elementary school students.
Mixing young children with adolescents isn't a good idea.
That's one of the main fears they mentioned when asked about York City School District's proposal to close Hannah Penn and Edgar Fahs Smith middle schools and convert the elementary schools from PreK-4 to PreK-8.
"I think the smaller kids should stay separate from the bigger kids," said Lisa Wagner, a grandmother of four York City elementary school students waiting outside Davis Elementary for dismissal time Monday.
The discussion: A meeting will be held at 6 p.m. April 17 at the high school to discuss the proposal, which the district hopes will net substantial savings as it faces a $19 million deficit next year and declining enrollment. Board president Margie Orr said the switch would make better use of the buildings.
York City faced some of the same parent concerns in the fall of 2010, when fifth grade was moved from the elementary schools to the middle schools.
The district addressed that by having them operate in a "school within a school," with the older students mostly kept at different areas of the building to prevent bullying.
Bullying concerns: Bullying is exactly what Ferguson Elementary School parent Zayra Cruz is concerned about.
"It would be a lot of worries ... That's not a good idea," said Cruz, who has a 6-year-old son she was picking up from school.
Sean Corley, who was picking up his preschool and kindergarten children at Ferguson, is worried about crowded classrooms.
"Where would you put them?" he said. "How is that teacher going to be able to concentrate?"
Change is constant: It was about two years ago the school district proposed closing another school, Davis Elementary, because of a desire to save money. Strong support by Davis parents helped keep Davis open and get much-needed renovations.
That's what Parent Advocates for Children co-president Diane Brown wants parents to remember: A parent's voice matters.
"It stayed open. Why? Because parents came out," Brown said.
Brown said she needs to see details of how the middle school closures would work. But on its surface, she said, she can get behind the idea "as long as performance isn't suffering."
Districts change all the time, she added. In the 1970s, she was in the first class of York City sixth-graders to attend Smith, which previously started at seventh grade.
"I remember there was a lot of negative talk about that. I think I turned out all right," Brown said.
-- Reach Andrew Shaw at 505-5431 or email@example.com, or on Twitter @ydblogwork