Safety guards warn of dangers when crossing streets

By Alisha Laventure - bio | email

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) – Drivers are perpetually warned to look out for kids crossing the street, but children bear part of the responsibility in making sure they are safe in the street.

Many children put themselves at risk of getting hit by a car when they cross the street before getting to the intersection.

"A lot of them love to come across playing," said Marilyn Wilson, who has been a crossing guard for seven years. "They shouldn't be doing that either."

Wilson says kids often disregard her warning of crossing in the middle of the street.

"I've saved a couple of them myself from being hit by a car," she recalled.

Children say they cross the street before getting to the intersection because it is faster. They say they save time cutting across when they don't see any cars. However, they don't always see oncoming traffic.

"I see it every day, and it kind of worries me that maybe something could happen to my kids," John St. Cyr said.

Cyr often reminds his children this time of year to be vigilant when crossing the street and waiting at the bus stop.

Safety guards say the crosswalk is the only safe place where children should cross the street. When crossing, children should not be horsing around, rather paying close attention to the crossing guard's eye and hand signals.

"We stress that students should cross at the crosswalks and not at various places up and down the street for their own safety," said Leon McCray, principal of Williams Middle School.

A portion of the students' class schedule is designated to reviewing traffic safety when crossing the streets and getting to and from the bus stop.

School officials say dangers can potentially arise in parking lots, as well. High school parking lots have been the site of several accidents in the past, with anywhere from 800 to 1,000 cars in one lot at a time.

"You need to be concerned about students who are getting out of their cars and walking into the building, as well as walking between the lanes," said Dr. Allie Brooks, superintendent of Florence One School District.

The walking population of Florence students has significantly decreased over the years.

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