Crossing guards drive home message at Penticton school

Parkway Elementary using a wooden crossing guard in a wheelchair following a number of accidents in the school crosswalk

Principal Kelly Jones of Parkway Elementary School watches from the sidewalk as students Kyarah Burchell and Douglas Korsmo use the Kinney Avenue crosswalk in front of the school. The wooden figures identifying the crossing were both struck by vehicles last year but have since been repaired and are back on duty.

After two separate collisions last fall — one of which involved a speeding, hit-and-run driver — the wooden child crossing guards are back on duty at Parkway Elementary.

As a way to drive home the point to motorists about the need to pay attention, the male figure is now confined to a wheelchair and wears a neck brace.

However, even with these visual markers and the added bright orange cones near the Kinney Avenue crossing, school principal Kelly Jones maintains the problems continue.

“I think what it says is that people just don’t seem to be getting the message to slow down,” said Jones, who has almost been hit himself while setting up the crosswalk alerts. “We have a great fear for the children because there just seems to be a lack of attention from people who are on the road.

“You can’t tell me that where they (drivers) are trying to go is more important than the lives of these kids. Think how bad you would feel if you hit one of them just because you don’t want to slow down for a couple of minutes.”

The seriousness of the situation became evident on the last day of school in June 2011, when a young female student crossing attendant suffered serious injuries after a vehicle ran over both her feet.

According to Jones, she is still recovering and there is a strong likelihood she will not be able to pursue her passion of dancing.

It was also that incident which prompted school officials to cancel the crossing guard program and go to the wood figures.

Since the accident, despite the increased police presence, ticketing of illegally parked vehicles in the area of the school and the temporary placement of digital speed reader boards, the problems persisted leading up the collisions with the inanimate figures.

“They (crashes) were just a couple of weeks in between where the girl sign was smashed to pieces and the person just took off,” said Jones. “The other one was a truck that was making the turn (from McGraw Street onto Kinney). It wasn’t going too fast, it just didn’t make the turn properly, but he did stop.”

The school is also continuing an education program for parents and students around the use of crosswalks.

That includes the fact the 30 kilometre per hour speed limit is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on school days, not just when kids are coming or going to class.

The one thing the principal noticed which really made a difference were the speed reader boards when they were in use near the school.

“The drivers see that and they look down at their speedometer and say, ‘Oh, I better slow down.’ It’s instant feedback,” said Jones.

He was so impressed with the results of the devices he has begun a fundraiser called Adopt a School Zone.

Through the campaign, the principal hopes to encourage local businesses to contribute money that would be used to purchase signs to be put up in school zones throughout the district.

“What we’re trying to do is to create a greater awareness among the public and most importantly make it safer for our children,” said Jones.

Anyone who would like more information about the program can contact the principal at 250-770-7686.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Penticton photographer publishes book showcasing resilience of Okanagan people

Okanagan Strong showcases the bravery of many during crisis; from COVID-19, to floods, and fires

Summerland steam train to begin operations

Reduced schedule, physical distancing planned for Kettle Valley Steam Railway beginning July 18

Summerland to hold meeting on solar project

Event on July 13 at 1 p.m. open to comments from the public

LETTER: Land for Summerland’s solar project site was designated for growth

Site represents close to 20 per cent of land marked for future growth

South Okanagan RCMP member speaks out against criticism

Police have been the subject of intense scrutiny in recent weeks

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

Kootnekoff: B.C. Supreme Court rules clause in Uber’s contract is invalid

Susan Kootnekoff is the founder of Inspire Law, her diverse legal career spans over 20 years.

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

Pure magic: live performances revived in Revelstoke

Revelstoke Arts Council hosting Guerrilla Gigs on Wednesdays all summer long

B.C. appeals judge’s decision to leave three clubhouses in Hells Angels hands

The province has filed two notices of appeal related to the B.C. Supreme Court decision

Kelowna woman shares story of alleged dog attack

Resident Yuli Lavigne alleges the incident happened on Monday, July 6

Conservation officers relocate Spirit bear known to roam northwestern B.C.

Bear roamed valley north of Terrace for many years

Successful first week for Okanagan ride-sharing, service expansion underway

The service is expanding to Peachland, Lake Country, Penticton and Vernon by the end of July

Most Read