Pack patience for start of school year

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published September 2, 2017

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — School is back in session, and that means neighborhoods will once again be crowded with vehicles and children trying to get to St. Clair Shores’ dozens of schools.

At 13 spots around the city, crossing guards help guide children to and from school safely, but St. Clair Shores Traffic Sgt. Jenna Conrad said they need some help from drivers.

“They’re having issues with people thinking that, the minute the kids cross, that they can just accelerate. They need to remember that, once a guard is in the roadway with a stop sign up, it’s not until the guard exits the roadway that they can then continue through,” she said. 

She said that during the 2016-17 school year, she had crossing guards report to her that they were nearly being hit by motorists after the children were across the street.

“They’re trying to get back to the other side, and people are flying past them,” Conrad said. 

If police officers spot drivers failing to yield to crossing guards, Conrad said they can issue citations to motorists. Drivers should also be sure to look for children biking and walking to school on all streets surrounding a school, not just designated crosswalks.

“Just remember to be patient, especially in the beginning of the year,” she said.

Conrad said that parents dropping children off at school should also be sure to pay attention to the posted “no parking” and “no parking, stopping and standing” signs on streets around schools. Violators will be cited and receive a $75 ticket for any school-related parking violations.

The majority of the areas around schools have no parking, stopping or standing on one side of the street and no parking on the side of the school. That means  drivers have to remain with their vehicle on one side but can drop off a child, while on the other side of the street they cannot stop moving at all.

One tip, Conrad said, is that if parents of older children, who can wait a little longer in the afternoon, would pick up their child a few minutes later, it would alleviate much of the congestion around a school in the afternoon.

“That way, everyone isn’t filtering in at the same time,” she said.

Drivers can expect to see a heavy police presence around schools in the mornings and afternoons, especially at the beginning of the school year. 

“If you have a child that can walk to school, then we strongly suggest that they walk,” Conrad said. “We have so many children attending schools where they have to be driven.”

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