Parents putting kids at risk

By Mikaela Collins

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Pat Newman said the biggest school crossing problem at Hora Hora Primary School is the driving behaviour of a few parents. Photo / Michael Cunningham
Pat Newman said the biggest school crossing problem at Hora Hora Primary School is the driving behaviour of a few parents. Photo / Michael Cunningham

While most of the faults identified in a police report on school crossings in Whangarei have been fixed, Te Tai Tokerau Principals' Association president says the biggest problem is driver behaviour.

The police report prepared by school community officer Senior Constable Ian Anderson in 2014 identified 16 out of 18 school traffic safety crossings in Whangarei had faults. However, police have since worked with the Whangarei District Council (WDC) and New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and as a result changes have been made to 16 crossings.

The review said school patrol crossings were poorly maintained and incorrectly painted. A pedestrian crossing at Totara Grove School was too close to a busy roundabout, which put staff and students patrolling it at risk of being hit by vehicles.

Another crossing at Kamo Intermediate School was missing painted lines and only had one safety island, and a crossing by One Tree Point School was missing black and white poles with orange discs.

Pat Newman, president of Te Tai Tokerau Principals Association and Hora Hora Primary School's principal, was not aware of the report but said the biggest problem around school crossings was the behaviour of a few parents.

"We've been trying to get [police] patrols at the school 9am and 3pm because it's a hell of problem," Mr Newman said.

"People take no notice, they park on yellow lines and if you ask them to move they get abusive. It's parents of children that put other children in danger - 99 per cent are fine but you get two or three everyday," he said.

Mr Newman said some drivers paid no attention to the crossing. He said when cars were parked along the entire street, including on yellow lines, they blocked the view of pedestrians.

Greg Martin, WDC committee chairman of infrastructure and services, said the project was an example of police taking initiative to pull together different agencies to achieve "a really good result for school kids".

- Northern Advocate

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