School appeals for scholar patrol

2015-06-01 09:14

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“DO we wait until a pupil is injured or killed before we get a response?”
This was the question asked by ­Alexandra High School principal Andrew Graaf, who said the school has been without a scholar patrol on the busy street since 2013.
Msunduzi municipal spokesperson Nqobile Madonda said they are aware of the situation and are in the process “employing persons to these vacant posts”.
Madonda said the school’s previous pointsman resigned. “There is a council resolution stating that all vacant posts for scholar patrols be filled. This positive action by the Msunduzi Municipality demonstrates its serious concern for road safety as this affects the most vulnerable road users, the pedestrians, especially scholars,” Madonda said.
Graaf said the school investigated hiring its own scholar patrol. However, they were advised that there would be serious implications around the issue of liability should a pupil or this pointsman get injured on duty.
“A top road traffic official told me that due to financial constraints the traffic department could not hire new personnel. They explained that they had to rationalise the ones they had and that primary and junior schools were considered a priority,” said Graaf.
Alexandra High has since started a campaign incorporating parents, pupils and the school governing body, to focus Msunduzi’s attention on the school’s urgent need for a scholar patrol.
Alexandra Road is extremely busy, and the majority of the pupils are arriving at school and leaving after sport at peak times.
“Every morning as I come down Alexandra Road I put on my hazard lights and [hopefully] stop the flow to create a chance for our pupils. The pupils take their lead from this and … start crossing. Some considerate drivers do the same. However, I ­always see some cars bearing down on me in my rear-view mirror and braking at the last minute. My fear is that someone who is not paying attention will try and pass the ­waiting stationary cars and hit an unwitting pupil,” said Graaf.
School volunteer Janella Coyne said pupils are daily at risk as “taxis race down, sometime travelling at more than 100 km/h”.
“There is a patrol person outside Maritzburg College so why is there no one outside Alexandra High School?” asked Coyne.

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