What is it going to take to keep our students safe? - East Valley Tribune: Ahwatukee Foothills

What is it going to take to keep our students safe?

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Michelle "Mikey" Arana

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Posted: Wednesday, October 5, 2011 2:00 pm | Updated: 3:41 pm, Sat Dec 22, 2012.

Wouldn't it be nice to have a guarantee that every single car that passes by a school will be going no faster than 15 mph? Or that every driver that passes through a crosswalk would actually be focused on driving and not texting, packing their kid's lunch, or messing around with the radio? Or that no one would ever pass in the school zone, and that every single car will stop whenever the crossing guard puts up the stop sign?

Wow, what a great world that would be to live in.

Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world. Obviously, everyone knows that who experiences school zones on a daily basis. Chances are, you yourself have witnessed a texter through the crosswalk, a speeder, or someone who blows past the crossing guard with their sign up. In just one school zone, at least one of these things happens nearly twice a day because people are neglecting to pay attention to their surroundings.

What's sad to think about is that if everyone just did their part, and decided to pay 100 percent attention to driving only, we could make a perfect school zone day actually happen. Better yet, if we all worked together as a community, we could have an actual perfect school zone week, maybe even month. It is not just a dream. We could all make it a reality if we were on the same page. It is hard to do when there are some drivers out there who are being responsible, paying attention, and actually care about the pedestrians and school zone rules. And then there are those who don't care about any of that.

What is it going to take? Is it going to take someone getting hit by a car for all of us to learn this valuable lesson? Why can't we prevent this before it happens? What happens if a child gets hit due to a driver's neglect of paying attention? What if it were your child? If you were one of the drivers not paying attention, and your child was hit by another car, would that make you finally change your ways? Why does it have to come to that?

In a perfect world everyone would be respecting the rules because they actually wanted to, not because they had to, and because they care about all the children in our community. That perfect world is attainable if we all just work together as a community and hold ourselves, and each other, accountable for our actions.

If you are one of the drivers that does not pay attention, what will make you change your ways? And will it be too late once you have finally learned this valuable lesson that life is very precious, and that in a single second you could take someone's life away because you were in too much of a hurry to pay attention to get to wherever you needed to go? I guarantee you will realize that that place was not worth speeding to get to if you caused a tragic accident.

For those out there that do pay attention, follow the school zone rules, and look out for pedestrians and children, thank you so very much. Crossing guards do notice you, and we are very thankful and appreciate that you are a responsible driver. Your actions never go unnoticed and we hope that more drivers could follow your example.

• Michelle Arana is a crossing guard at Kyrene de los Cerritos Elementary School in Ahwatukee Foothills.

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