Blue Ridge is pulling out all the stops to make pedestrian safety a priority. With so many Blue Ridge students who walk to school every morning, the subject is a critical issue for the school.
Physical education teacher Beverly Hedges patrols the crosswalk in the mornings and says she sees a lot of both pedestrians and drivers taking risks.
“I see a lot of bad things going on,” Ms. Hedges said.
Ms. Hedges said many walkers do not use the crosswalk, and some drivers use the sidewalk for parking when picking up/dropping off their child, which could land them a ticket.
Meanwhile, Brandon Daugherty, an officer with the Dalton Police Department, said they had been wanting to reach out to schools and teach students about traffic enforcement.
So Mr. Daugherty reached out to Ms. Hedges and the two came up with the Pedestrian Safety Program.
“Blue Ridge is the pilot school for the effort,” Mr. Daugherty said. “Then we’ll reach out to other schools with specific issues and tailor the program to that issue.”
The Pedestrian Safety Program at Blue Ridge started on April 28 and will run through May 9. All grades will get to participate in the program.
On days the program is taking place, four stations will be set up around the school’s campus. One station features students going to a crosswalk outside the school and practicing the correct way of walking. In this station they also hear what to wear when walking—bright colors and good, sturdy shoes.
One station is a video that explains other things to do in a crosswalk, such as how to alert a driver you’ve dropped something in the crosswalk and need to pick it up, and how to hold hands and walk as a group to the other side of the street.
In one station, students get their photos taken with Crosswalk Charlie, a creation of Mr. Daugherty and Blue Ridge art teacher Mat Sane.
The fourth station is a time for students to be creative. They get to draw a photo of themselves with Crosswalk Charlie.
Both Mr. Daugherty and Ms. Hedges said they will continue the partnership and keep the program going into future years.