Concern over road safety at primary amplifies

The school and parents are very concerned with road safety crossing. Times photo by Wayne Martin.

Road safety concerns for Owairoa Primary School have increased exponentially in the past week.

On Thursday June 3 concerned parent Ruth McLaren sent an email to the school with “concerns regarding road safety and the behaviour of parents on Nelson Street”.

She has noticed an “increasing level of bad behaviour”.

“Yesterday was the worst I have experienced,” McLaren wrote.

She was working on road patrol. One of the 10-year-old callers was “doing her job” when she was subjected to “parents yelling at her from the road side to ‘get the signs out’ and parents “swearing and banging their steering wheels” because the signs were out.

“School is supposed to be happy and secure place for children,” McLaren said. “We are placing our children in a position where they are being verbally abused.”

Her second issue is centred on the illegal actions of parents dropping their children to school and road safety. According to McLaren, parents consistently do three point turns, stop on the yellow lines and allow their children to exit the car in the middle of the road.

“Road patrollers can’t put their signs out when parents do this,” she said.

Owairoa Primary and other parents share her concern.

School board of trustees representative Emma Nasimi told the Times this issue has been ongoing. “We’ve received complaints from parents and volunteer parents,” Nasimi said. “It’s escalated the past few months.”

They feel it is an ongoing issue that many local schools face.

On June 15 board members discussed the issue and possible solutions. “We wish to educate parents and the general public on road safety,” Nasimi said.

One way they are doing this is through Owairoa Primary’s newsletter. An information pamphlet written by one of the school’s parents was included in the most recent one.

It contains critical rules for being a considerate motorist and reducing verbal abuse: “You must use the crossing. Yellow lines are not for stopping on. Making quick three point turns in driveways near the crossings are dangerous. When your child is exiting the vehicle, ensure they do so on the footpath. Please refrain from parking in or over residential driveways. The Year 6 students and helpers on the crossing area are volunteers. Please be kind.”

The Board has contacted Auckland Council and the police for further input and consideration.

Meanwhile, a 77-year-old man is set to appear in the Manukau District Court on July 27 over the tragic death of schoolgirl Joanna Kong.

Five-year-old Joanna died after being struck by a vehicle in the car park at Pigeon Mountain Primary School in Bucklands Beach on March 23.