Local school recognized for traffic safety efforts

One local elementary school has been recently recognized for their initiative to make the streets in the surrounding area safer for students and staff.

Early on in the school year, teachers and students at Mattie McCullough Elementary School noticed that parents were double-parking their vehicles during drop-offs and creating a situation where students had to walk out between parked cars.

Despite a marked crosswalk, parents were jaywalking with their children before returning to their vehicles and performing illegal U-turns through the crosswalk.

Students and teachers worked with parents, the City of Red Deer and RCMP school resource officers to tackle the problem. A coordinated awareness effort saw students and staff patrolling the parking and drop-off areas in reflective vests, creating better signage to educate motorists and designing maps to send home to parents.

Among the outcomes, the City used concrete to extend the crosswalk, painting new lines and installing traffic signs to direct parking and prevent U-turns. School leaders engaged RCMP and bylaw officers to patrol the area to ensure parents got the message loud and clear. Grade 5 students also patrolled the intersections each day to ensure their fellow classmates safely crossed the road.

Because of their efforts and success, the Alberta Motor Association recently recognized the school with the AMA School Zone Safety Award. Mattie McCullough Elementary School is one of three schools in the province to receive such an award.

AMA selected the school for their hard work and targeted efforts over the past year aimed at curtailing the dangerous practices that were taking place.

“It’s great to be recognized on behalf of AMA,” said Sean Grainger, vice principal at Mattie McCullough Elementary School. “The program is exciting for the students. At first it’s a novelty to get out there and patrol, but once they get involved they really begin to realize the seriousness of traffic issues.”

He added this was the first year the school took on a program like this.

“It worked really well and it’s something that we will continue to do in the future,” said Grainger. “The Grade 4 students were trained at the end of the school year so they’ll know how to patrol the intersections come the fall.”