Protect kids at crosswalks - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Community Focus

Protect kids at crosswalks

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Posted: Saturday, April 23, 2011 9:00 am | Updated: 5:29 pm, Tue Aug 9, 2011.

Being a kid these days is not what it used to be. Not only are they being judged based on their parent's financial status, but they are being bullied more than ever. So why add safety to their list of concerns?

It is every kid's right to be able to walk or ride their bike or scooter to school each day. By doing so, it gives them a chance to learn about independence and responsibility, as well as being aware of their surroundings. It gives them a chance to talk and study for tests with friends, get some exercise and allows them to learn about street safety.

Students should be able to know that when they approach the crosswalk at their school that they will be safe as they cross the street because drivers will follow safety traffic laws and a crossing guard will be there to ensure their safety. Although they will learn some days that not everyone will always follow traffic laws, they still have that right to know that drivers should be following them.

The only way our children's safety can be guaranteed is if we all work together to ensure that safety. Parents should be educating their kids about common traffic rules and about when to cross the street, to look both ways, and listen to the adults that are directing traffic. Drivers should be paying attention to the assigned speed limits in school zones, stopping when kids are in the crosswalk and paying attention to crossing guards by stopping when they should. School officials and traffic directors should be making sure that safety cones are being placed in designated areas, and that cars are away from where the majority of kids are walking to school, and reporting any driver that is driving recklessly, not obeying the speed limits, or generally putting kids in danger. Crossing guards need to be aware of the drivers that are not paying attention to rules, signs and cones posted and to not let children cross the street until both sides of vehicle traffic have come to a complete stop. Crossing guards should also have students walk their bikes, scooters and skateboards across the crosswalk instead of riding them across the street.

If we all work together we can ensure our children's safety in getting to and from school each day, but we can't do that unless we all play the role that we are individually responsible for.

• Michelle Arana is a crossing guard at Kyrene de los Cerritos Elementary School in Ahwatukee Foothills.

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