Children drop-offs, pick-ups to be monitored this fall
© Bonnie Learning photo
This is the area where parents and caregivers are to park when dropping off their kids at Peacock Primary School; alongside the guardrail adjacent to the school parking lot, where a crosswalk can safely be accessed by the kids.
With the school year about to begin, it seems a safety lesson is in order.
But not for the children — for their parents and caregivers.
Happy Valley-Goose Bay Community Constable Cliff Sampson said he and members of the RCMP will be keeping a close eye on the pick-up and drop-off of school children this year.
Cst. Cliff Sampson said the worst problem area seems to be at Peacock Elementary on Cabot Crescent, where a lot of parents and caregivers seem to blatantly ignore signage and designated drop-off/pick-up points that are intended to keep their children safe.
“There are clear directions through the signage around the school, for parents to follow when dropping off and picking up their kids throughout the day,” said Cst. Sampson.
“When heading towards Peacock from Cook Street or the Cabot Crescent/Grenfell Street intersection, parents are to pull ahead to the far end of the guardrail, turn, and line up along the outside of the guardrail, so their children can safely access the crosswalk leading into the school parking lot,” he explained.
Instead, he continued, what is happening is parents are lining up alongside the residential homes across from the school, which not only blocks private property and driveways, but also puts their kids in harm’s way as they then have to cross a busy street to get to the school.
“We have had several complaints from property owners in the last few years, where their driveways have been blocked off in the mornings,” said Cst. Sampson.
“We have ticketed people for not following the rules, and we will do so again this year.”
Cst. Sampson noted parents dropping their kids off opposite the school can also be especially dangerous in the winter.
“When you have small children, combined with slippery, snowy roads trying to get across a street, it can be very dangerous,” he said.
“If parents have to wait five minutes to make sure their kids are safe, so be it — it’s better than the alternative.”
Cst. Sampson also reminds drivers that the school parking lot is for buses only.
“You can imagine the scene if private vehicles were allowed to access the parking lot in the morning and afternoon,” said Cst. Sampson.
“The parking lot is full of children and staff in the mornings, who are trying to get into school safely. We also ask parents to remind their kids to always cross in front of a school bus when exiting, so the drivers can see them.”
Cst. Sampson noted drivers to always be cognizant of children who are also walking and riding their bikes to school.
‘Slow down and wait’
Cst. Sampson in addition to getting the message out there about student safety when getting to school, he also wants the general driving public to be aware of the speed limit in school zones, which is a posted 30/km hour.
“We have kids going back to school, little kids going to school for the first time, kids walking and biking — it can be very busy around the streets,” he said.
“We are asking drivers to be aware of their surroundings and to keep is slow in school zones.”
Cst. Sampson noted another big awareness piece is for drivers to obey the school bus when it comes to a stop.
“School bus drivers are required to put their flashing lights on 100 metres before they stop at a drop-off/pick-up point,” he said.
“This allows for plenty of time for a driver to stop.”
He said drivers are required by law to wait until the bus driver has started moving again before they continue on as well.
“We had at least a half dozen complaints last year of drivers passing a stopped school bus,” said Cst. Sampson.
“That kind of bad driving behaviour can be a tragedy waiting to happen.”
He added any driver caught passing a school bus faces a fine and will cost them an automatic six demerit points on their license.