PUBLISHED: 4:50 PM on Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Take care at school crosswalks
Letter to the Editor
We had a 7th grade student "brushed" (hit and spun around, but not knocked over) by a car while crossing Mendenhall Loop in front of Dryden this morning around 7:40. She is physically okay and emotionally shook up, as one would expect. Parents elected to take her home for the day. The driver, a former Dryden parent, came into Dryden about 10 minutes after the incident. She was also shook up and emotionally distraught. JPD is handling the incident, and I am taking the opportunity via news radio and our web site to promote public awareness of the especially dangerous crossing this time of year. We discussed the need to enhance the safety of the crossing at our Site Council meeting last Monday night. The Site Council decided last Monday to draft a letter requesting additional safety enhancement steps be taken by DOT to minimize the risk to our students associated with the crossing of Mendenhall Loop Road.

While the problem is being addressed, there are steps we all can take to reduce the risk of a student being hit by a car in the Dryden crosswalk. When driving to school or work, stay focused on driving and be conscious of the daily, second-by-second potential for tragedy. Always drop a student off in the school parking lot and never on the opposite side of Mendenhall Loop Road. Remind students each morning before they walk to school that crossing any road is a serious, life threatening activity. Enhance our children's visibility by having them wear a light colored or bright colored coat with reflective material during the dark winter walk to school. All 6th grade girls recently received 4-inch strips of reflective tape in their PE/Healthy Lifestyles class, and all 6th grade boys will be receiving the same. Please be sure they place it on their coats. Insist kids wear a helmet if they bike to school. At Dryden we will continue to remind students of the routine danger they face and revisit safety precautions for crossing Mendenhall Loop Road.

We are fortunate that a serious accident did not take place this morning. We did receive a "wake-up call" and a mandate to aggressively act to reduce the risk our students face each day when using the Dryden crosswalk to cross Mendenhall Loop Road. Rest assured that Dryden and the Juneau School District will do all we can to enhance the safety of the crosswalk and promote awareness of the need to take extra precautions this time of year.

Valerie Williams