DALLAS — The gleaming, sprawling new Billy Earl Dade Middle School in southeast Dallas opened Monday morning for the first time with a visit from the superintendent, wowing parents and students alike.
"It's very hard to find a school like this in a community like this, so it's really good for kids," beamed sixth grader Ariyah Evans.
But her mother, Katrina Evans, contends what's not good for kids is the C&S Drive-In convenience store right across the street that sells alcohol.
"I do not like that at all. I do not appreciate it at all," she said.
Generally, Dallas ordinances prohibit establishments from peddling adult beverages within 300 feet of a school, but property owner Joe Jackson pointed out the exception in this case.
"The store has been operating since the 60s, and by virtue of the Dallas law, it has been grandfathered in," he said.
Troy Pough, stopping in for a noontime 24-ounce can of suds, agrees with that.
"If the store was here first, then the store was here first," he said. "It doesn't make sense closing down a man's business. They have to make a living, too."
The landlord assures he is working with the city, and that he has invited Dallas police to park, patrol, or intervene here any time.
"Take whatever means necessary to fix something they don't like," Jackson said.
But Katrina Evans is still uneasy, worried that the business being done across the street from the school might not always stay across the street.
"Some adults can be coming back for a refill and already intoxicated and running into children, so that is not a good idea at all," she said.