An accident involving a 10-year-old Burnett student last week has given rise to an effort to make safer the school crossing at Scarsdale and Sageglen.
Ten-year-old Glen Wright was walking home from school Thursday when he was hit by a car at the intersection of Fairbury and Scarsdale, according to Terry Cannon, PISD spokesman. The child suffered a broken collar bone, she said. School personnel say he is expected to return to school next week.
Meanwhile, Fran Ryan, mother of two Burnett students has taken on the responsibility of crossing the school children every morning and afternoon and has contacted county, city, and PISD officials in an effort to better control traffic on the heavily traveled Scarsdale boulevard.
"The kids shouldn't be afraid to come across the street and shouldn't be intimidated by drivers," Ryan said.
Through Ryan's efforts, the office of Princinct 1 Harri County Commissioner El Franco Lee has agreed to have 18-inch white stripes placed at the beginning and ending of the school zone on Scarsdale, she said, and to have times changed on school zone signs to better conform to times children will be crossing the street.
The South Belt Coalition also contacted Lee's officce. Bent Miller, Lee's administrative assistance, said he is submitting a letter to the county engineer requesting flashing lights in the zone.
The Coalition has attempted to get flashing lights at all area school zones for the last year. The Coalition, however, as unaware that while Burnett Elementary is in the city limits, the crosswalk lies in the county. Therefore they had been contacting the city on this specific zone. The county has placed lights at Weber Elementary and has plans for placement of lights at Moore Elementary, the only other area county school.
Coalition chairman Mary Obenauf said the city has been slow to honor the Coalition's requests.
But many, including PISD officials, feel that a crossing guard should be in place at the crosswalk. Although the child was not using the crosswalk when he was hit, it is felt by crossing guard advocates that a crossing guard would serves as a reminder of where to cross the street.
The question of who is responsible for placement of that guard, a question that has been bounced around for several years, remains.
The county's stance, said Miller, is that placement of a guard is a municipality's responsibility, and when zones lie in the county, it is the responsibility of civic groups or neighborhoods to hire a guard.
The school district's position is that the district cannot assume liabilities on county and city streets, said Jack Donnell, assistant superintendent of operations. Municipalities are created to provide these services, he said.
However, a letter has been written to County Judge Jon Lindsay on behalf of PISD asking for aid in rectifying the problem, including the placement of a guard at the crossing, said Deupty Superintendent of Administration Eugene Tegeler.
Moore Elementary, which lies in a bit more remote area at Hall and Southbluff Roads, makes use of parent volunteers said Principal Jerry Davis. Davis and assistant Principal Mark Priest also help cross the children on a daily basis.
Ryan said she will continue to cross the children until school is out if necessary.
"Kids need to get home safely," she said.