What all do we see on a crosswalk, you might ask? Well, I would love to say that we have seen it all, but I am sure that, unfortunately, something new will come along to surprise me one of these days. However, I can tell you a few things that I have seen so far.
For starters, the usual things I see are that people are going well over 15 mph in the crosswalk, people are passing each other while in the crosswalk and school zone, and when the stop sign is up people will look at me, see that I am trying to stop traffic, and continue to drive through the crosswalk anyway.
What are some other things I have seen? Well, one driver had a small child sitting on their lap while driving and the child was, obviously, not even restrained. I have also seen parents try and pack their child's bag in the front seat while driving with their knees. Other people try to weave in and out of school crosswalk traffic and then speed past each car while trying to hide behind bigger cars so that their license plate number cannot be seen to take down a report.
It's not just me that sees all of this happen. Parents that are walking their children to school witness people who don't stop when the sign is up, and also how people will speed off barely before they enter the crosswalk area, which they are supposed to wait to increase speed until after they are out of the crosswalk area. And even then it's supposed to be a slow, steady increase.
I saw one parent yell at someone who sped right through the crosswalk going at least 40 mph and the person they yelled at gave the parent a road rage rude ‘gesture' back. That was in a school zone around kids where everyone heard the parent yell and saw the other driver do the obscene gesture.
Aside from the parents, myself, and other school employees that witness these driving situations, the students are also the ones that see everything and I think that is what our community is forgetting.
If you are one of the frequent speeders that speed by the crosswalk, for example, what do you think you are teaching the students in our community?
You are basically teaching them that it is perfectly OK to speed and go over 15 mph in a school zone, as well as that it is OK to disobey school and traffic rules. Is that really the message you want to participate in getting across to our students?
One Cerritos parent, Narry Savage, voiced her concerns about what she sees on a daily basis while walking her kids to school: "I am appalled by the drivers who completely disregard the speed limit and ‘no passing' sign.
As a parent who frequently walks my kids to school, I see cars zoom through the crosswalk with children in them! I wish people of our community would pay attention and have more consideration for the little ones of our community."
This is not going to stop unless we hold ourselves accountable and each other, as well. In other words, if you see someone else speed by you that is not following the traffic and school rules, you can be an example to the person that is speeding by following the rules yourself and then, all of a sudden, our speeders are outnumbered by people that are following the rules.
If you are running late everyday, and that is your excuse for speeding all of the time, please just do everyone a favor and leave a few minutes earlier next time. You can save a life by doing so.
Let's all try and be a better example for our students. For those who don't follow the rules, I hope you see what could potentially happen with your negligence and, hopefully, make you want to change your driving habits.
For those of you that do follow the rules, you are making a difference in our school zone whether you realize it or not, and we all thank you very much for what you are doing.
You are being a great example to everyone in our community, and we are noticing a positive change because of what you are doing. Thank you!
• Michelle Arana is a crossing guard at Kyrene de los Cerritos Elementary School in Ahwatukee Foothills.