“Left, Right, Left:” The danger of Crossing Streets at School

Evan Morgan, contributor

Children are taught that the “safe” way to cross the street is to stop, look left, right, left, and then proceed if it is safe. This method, however, is not efficiently serving its purpose. There is a growing issue of safety at street crossing surrounding the local schools in Fort Collins, Colorado.

After the death of a Lopez Elementary School kindergarten in early November, there has been an outcry for a change. Vale Wolkow, 6-years-old, was struck by an SUV turning right through an intersection in front of the school. He died later that day in the hospital. This most recent example of street crossing safety goes to show that there is a need for a change.

The Poudre School District does a fairly adequate job of keeping their students safe, but when it comes to street crossing there is clear evidence that the emphasis on safety is lacking. One of the contributing factors to this issue is the increase in traffic with the new start times for the district’s schools. In previous years, schools have started before rush hour morning traffic, now they match right up. Now it’s more than just parents dropping their kids off at schools, it all people trying to get to work. This makes the flow of traffic significantly stronger, increasing the chances of a possible accident.

There needs to be active progress towards making street crossings safer for all schools. No mother, no father, or brother or sister wants to lose someone they love because crossing the street isn’t safe. No teacher or friend wants to lose a smiling face in their classroom because looking “left, right, left” wasn’t enough. No community wants to mourn the way the Lopez community did.

It is evidently clear the District needs to invest more funds into systems like a crossing guard at every intersection. It is evidently clear that the districts need to further look at the safety concerns related to their new start times. It is evidently clear that an immediate change needs to happen, to protect the lives of all the students in the district. A change that makes is so children don’t have to worry about doing more than just looking “left, right, left.”