Residents want parents, students to drive more carefully

Parent and student drivers increasingly are drawing in criticism from area residents, according school administrators, who said they’ve begun receiving complaints about parents parking on the side of streets to pick up their children and students speeding through neighborhoods.

“I got complaints yesterday about Branch Avenue,” Assistant Principal Catherine Halbuer said. “Parents that did come into the car loop where trying to enter [Branch Avenue] and they were coming through and couldn’t get through because our parents were parked on both sides of the street and refused to move to let vehicles through.”

Halbuer suggested that parents wait just a bit longer to come pick up their kids to avoid traffic.

“Just come five minutes later because we have the high school car loop empty in seven minutes,” she said. “So if you come five minutes earlier, you won’t have to be stuck in anything.”

Residents have been voicing their concerns about their safety as well.

“I was approached by a resident that was very concerned,” Principal Rick Fleming said. “He was getting out of the car with his granddaughter, who is 3 years old, and she ran to the edge of the driveway because she likes to get the mail out of the mailbox, and almost got hit by one of our students who was going about 45 mph in the residential neighborhood.”

Fleming said students tend to drive more recklessly after they exit the campus.

“I think what happens is that students let their guard down a little bit,” Fleming said. “They’re so excited to get out of school when the bell rings.”

In order to get students to realize the trouble they cause driving, Fleming said he believes they need to become more educated.

“I’d like to see more PSA’s on the announcements to make students more aware,” Fleming said. “We’ve tried that in the past and we’ve even had Officer [Valerie] Butler mention it in some of her presentations. But at some point, I don’t know if students are going to get the message.”

By Michael Stewart