Mt. Juliet, Tenn. – In a continued partnership to ensure routes near schools are safe for children, Police Chief Hambrick, his leadership team, and Mt. Juliet Middle School/West Wilson Middle School leadership all met on Thursday, January 19th to discuss the growing concern of unorganized, unsafe child pedestrian traffic during school dismissal.
The unsafe activity stems from motorists not following the school’s designated traffic plan to pick up a child from school safely. As a result, students are darting across Woodridge Place, Charlie Daniels Parkway, and even Mt. Juliet Road to get to a motorist or parent who is circumventing the pickup plan at a nearby private property parking lot or non-authorized area. Further, many children are not using crosswalks, motorists are stopping in the travel lanes to pick up children quickly, and children are even walking between cars in traffic. With the high frequency of dangerous activity, the school and police department are making efforts to ensure children are safe.
For afternoon pick up, students have the following safe options:
- A car rider who is picked up in an authorized, safe location that follows the school traffic plan
- A bus rider who loads the bus in an authorized, safe bus loading zone
- A walker who walks to their residence within a safe walking distance from the school, using appropriate crosswalks and sidewalks
For afternoon pick up, motorists should not:
- Impede the flow of traffic by picking up a child while stopped in a travel lane
- Park on unauthorized private or business property to wait and pick up a child
“I’ve witnessed many scary moments with children darting across traffic, and this activity simply cannot continue,” stated Chief James Hambrick. “School leadership and I all understand that MJ Middle School has more students due to the continued construction of West Wilson Middle, which leads to more traffic. However, we must all work together to keep children safe, and the activity we have witnessed lately is far from safe. I hope everyone understands and will cooperate with the school’s plan to ensure dismissal is orderly and safe.”
On Monday, January 23, the department will begin to have extra police officers on roadways around the school to ensure motorists are driving safely. Officers will be enforcing any unsafe, unlawful driving behavior. The ultimate goal of everyone is to ensure children have safe routes to and from school. To ensure such, motorists and parents are strongly encouraged to follow the school’s traffic plan and further information provided by school leadership.