Crossing guards and safety officials were out in full force this morning welcoming students on the first day of school. As children made their way to Holy Cross Catholic School, they were helped across the street by AMA School Safety Patrollers, along with city councillor Chris Thiessen, members of the Grande Prairie Storm, RCMP and enforcement services.
AMA School Safety Patrol Coordinator Shelley Biendarra says it’s important to get the message out to both drivers and pedestrians.
“Keep an eye on those kids who are not going to pay attention to the crosswalks. Please, parents, bring your kids to the crosswalks. If you’re driving your kids to school, park down the road, walk your kid into school… don’t leave the parking lots congested. And no distracted driving.”
While Biendarra admits she’s seen drivers on their phones in school zones, she says patrollers make sure they have their full attention.
“It’s been 80 years with no fatalities or injuries at a patrolled crosswalk, which is awesome. The patrollers are paying attention and they’re not letting anyone cross until they’ve made that eye contact with the driver.”
If their kids are old enough to be walking to school alone, Biendarra encourages parents to tell them to make sure vehicles have come to a complete stop and make eye contact before heading across the street.
School zones are in effect in Grande Prairie from 7:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. In 2016, more than 400 tickets were handed out in school zones across Grande Prairie in just the first two days of the school year.