Our View: Let's keep our children safe

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Student safety is a top concern of school administrators, but it doesn't seem to be as important to parents, students and other drivers.

Near misses, speeding and oblivious drivers have been seen all over the district.

What's going though these drivers' heads? Is getting to work more important than a child's life? Is there an appointment important enough to risk a permanent injury?

School officials report that it seems there is.

Thom Schnellinger, assistant principal at Moffat County High School, said he watched as drivers continued their 45-mph pace down Colorado Highway 13 even though there were students trying to cross the street.

At the high school he has seen drivers passing buses and ignoring the speed limit.

"It's pretty serious around here," he said. "We need people to slow down."

At Ridgeview Elementary School, a drop-and-go zone was created. Most parents enjoy the enhanced safety it provides, but Principal Julie Baker said there have been complaints from some parents and arguments from some.

We don't understand why.

Parents send children to school each and every day charging teachers and school staff with keeping those children safe, yet some are unwilling to take that responsibility themselves.

"The community needs to understand this is about kids' safety, nothing else," Schnellinger said. "It seems inconvenient, but they have to remember what's at stake."

Craig Intermediate School implemented a kiss-and-go zone last year for the same reasons Ridgeview did.

Getting parents to use the drop-off point takes time and education, CIS principal Don Davidson said, and still, more than just parents are driving through school zones.

Students, too, must bear some of the responsibility for their own safety. It's not unusual to see kids darting into the street whether it be on foot, bike or rollerblades. Nor are teen drivers exempt when it comes to breaking a few rules when behind the steering wheel.

All must work to ensure kids respect highways and the vehicles that travel them -- that includes parents, school officials and the community as a whole.

All it takes is one.

One accident. One death.

That would bring outraged community members to the table clamoring for more police officers, better crossing guards, bigger signs.

They'll ask, "What wasn't done that should have been done?"

The school district is doing all it can to ensure students arrive at school safely. They're remodeling parking areas, enlisting crossing guards, posting teachers and educating bus drivers.

For those who don't notice the yellow school zone signs, the white paint on the road or the reduced speed limit, yellow flashing lights have been installed at school zones.

What realistically can be done, has been done.

What's left is up to drivers. There's not one single thing that can't wait to save the life of a child.

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