3/8/2013 11:30:14 AM
Last September Ed Davison reported that students from Mitchell Elementary School inappropriately cross Ashley Avenue at Nunan Street enroute home. There’s a school crossing guard stationed a block north on Ashley Avenue at Line Street to assist the children. But the kids, for whatever reasons, continue to inappropriately cross the one-way street where cars are accelerating after stopping at the Septima Clark Expressway.
Davison said the kids’ insistence had become a problem and on one occasion a driver nearly hit a student. Last week an eight-year-old girl was struck as she crossed. She sustained non-life threatening injuries.
In Charleston County school crossing guards are managed by Charleston County Sheriff Department. In September supervisor Julie Kilgore said kids are encouraged to cross where it’s safest - that’s where the guards are stationed. In many cases parents walk their kids to school in the mornings. They go to the guards. But in the afternoons without their parents, some kids use their own initiatives.
Davison and a group of older men who meet on that block to share their day’s activities and talk over old times try to keep a close eye on the intersection down the block at Nunan Street where elementary school students insist on crossing. But it was only as matter of time before a child was injured, Davison said.
“We’re talking about little kids, seven and eight years old. They don’t know any better,” he said.
Kilgore said crossing guards are directed to remain at their assigned locations however. So citizens, parents, the crossing guard and others who see problems should notify school officials who in turn will contact the sheriff department. Through that partnership schools can reinforce to students the importance of crossing where guards are located, Kilgore said.
None of that seems to be working, said Davison. Kids have continued to cross inappropriately at Nunan Street and Ashley Avenue, even since the girl was hit.
Charleston County has about 125 school crossing guards. Capt. Mike Stanley who administers the school crossing guard unit said obliviously it’s a big job to insure safe crossing for all the county’s students.
The S.C. Department of Transportation co-operates to make sure appropriate signs and street markings are in place. And with further co-operation from the school district, municipal law enforcement agencies and individual schools, determinations are made about where signs, markings and guards are located.
“If they can’t make an adjustment on one end, then they should make the adjustment on the other end,” Davison suggests. A uniformed police officer stationed at the intersection directing the children to cross at the crossing guard’s location might be the authority small children need, Davison suggests.
Charleston Police Chief Gregory Mullen said his department will have officers assigned in the area monitor the situation. But any permanent solution will have to come from the sheriff department or Charleston County School District.