Dear Editor- Wait Until It’s Safe

Dear Editor- A child was hit by a car in front of my daughter’s old elementary school today. Blessedly, he “only” has a broken leg. I say it like that because I’m sure it was a thoroughly traumatic experience all around, regardless of the non-severity. This was not the first time there has been such an accident on that street.

Imagine the horror of the mother as she saw what was about to happen, unable to stop it, and those agonizing moments not knowing how badly injured her child was, whether he was alive or not. Imagine the shock and guilt of the hapless driver of the car who hit the child. Imagine the pictures that will be stuck in the heads of all the parents and children who witnessed this today. Imagine the confusion, fear, and pain the child felt and will continue to feel.

The entire six years my daughter went to Farragut Elementary, I worried that something like this may happen to her or to another child. Even though I always parked and walked over to the school to pick her up along with scores of other parents picking up their kids, crossing that street can be a bit difficult. Now that she’s in middle school, I don’t exactly fool myself that we are immune from accidents, but she’s gained a certain savvy that comes with maturity.

The child who was injured today was in third grade. Impulsively, he dashed out into traffic, running to his mother’s car across the street. The teen driver, most likely just leaving the high school, didn’t even see the child until it was too late.

I have no idea if this child’s mother remained in her parked car and waved her child over, or if he saw her pull up and he was excited and just headed over to her without looking or waiting for her to come escort him. I don’t want to make her feel any worse than I’m sure she already feels, nor am I am accusing anybody of negligence. BUT ~ I have seen plenty of people parked in cars across the street from the school waiting for their children, hit their horns or wave to them to let them know to come get in the car.

At drop-off time in the morning in front of the high school, many parents will pull over, double-park, stop traffic, and drop their kids off. Often this will occur dangerously near the turnout that many people utilize to park and let their kids get out safely. So we have kids getting out of cars on the passenger side, which of course is the safer side, but having to pass in front of cars that are coming up on the right. And also there are those who allow their kids to enter and exit their cars on the driver’s side of the car, which is also very hazardous. Everyone is used to seeing so many other people do these things that they have long since become the norm and no one seems to realize the potential for disaster.

People complain about too many rules and regulations, but I am about to propose that in the area of the incredibly chaotic corner of Farragut and Elenda that is home to an elementary school, the adult school, the middle school and the high school, we need some real rules and regulations as well as enforcement.

I hate to think we’ll not see any change until someone actually dies.  I know it comes down to the parents and kids having common sense, but way too many people just don’t seem to be exercising that.  And again ~ I am really, truly not suggesting that was the case today; I don’t know the circumstances.  However, there will always be impulsive kids who don’t wait for mom or dad to say, “Wait until it’s safe.  Wait for me to come to you.”  So we need someone to watch out for them.  Starting now.

~ Colleen Malone-Engel

Editor’s Note- The writer is referring to an incident on Jan. 31, when a child leaving Farragut Elementary was hit by a car after running out in to the street.

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