Jaywalking: An Epidemic at SRHS

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Jaywalking: An Epidemic at SRHS

Sarah Gorton, Contributor

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Each day at SRHS, students are allocated 45 minutes for lunch to go off campus. What should be a peaceful break in the day has now struck fear in the staff. Standing between the school and the student’s favorite lunch spots is Point San Pedro, a road that has been the scene of multiple deaths and accidents as a result of speeding cars.

By law, students are required to walk parallel to the plaza along the sidewalk surrounding the campus, eventually reaching the designated crosswalk that crosses PSP, connecting to Montecito Plaza. However many choose to ignore this crosswalk, cutting across the four-lane road in front of cars driving at speeds close to 40 miles per hour.

Ben Johnson, the well respected head of security at SRHS, has witnessed this behavior for years on end. “It really breaks my heart to see so many bright young minds making such poor choices,” says Ben. Students may be in denial of the danger, however the administration is all to aware of the serious repercussions that this behavior could potentially result in.

With one of their own students dying on this road in 2015, the problem of SRHS students dangerously crossing PSP is taken very seriously. Multiple security guards, assistant principals, and even the principal himself have stood at this section of road to stop students from crossing. But even this fails to stop them.

At the beginning of lunch, each time a students lines up to run across, Ben reminds them to think again. The students back away from the road, walking down the sidewalk to the crosswalk. Unfortunately, these same students are back 30 minutes later as lunch comes to a close. Ben watches these same kids line up once more to cross back to the high school, neglecting to notice that he is still watching.

“We’ve had drivers call us saying, hey I almost ran over your student,” the principal, Mr. Dennis, recalls. One SRHS parent recalls a friday night football game earlier this year when a group of students ran out in front of his car, almost causing a crash. “I was driving slowly by Montecito Plaza, well within the speed limit. They ran out in the dark, right in front of me with no warning. I could barely see them. The last thing I or anyone wants is to watch a student get hit.” This possibility of death seems out of reach to many students. Each teen crossing that road is under the belief that it will not happen to them.

Mr. Simmons, an English teacher at SRHS, has also been witness to the chaos involved in jaywalking. “My first year teaching at SRHS I was driving home from work on a rainy day and a student ran in front of my car. I came within half a foot of hitting this student. I couldn’t believe I’d almost hit a student,” he says. Almost all members of the San Rafael High School community have had an experience with the jaywalking.

“There is no easily accessible crosswalk and it is much faster to jaywalk than waiting in a large crowd at the crosswalk with the light that takes very long to turn green,” claims Ameena Thune, a senior at SRHS.

Another SRHS student named Danielle Gamble says, “People cross ten feet from the crosswalk because it saves a little bit of time. It’s dumb because they could die. But the school should consider trying to have a crosswalk right in front of the school to avoid people getting hurt.” While students share different opinions on the actual act of jaywalking, many are looking to the school for solutions.

One of these is a new crosswalk, closer to the school’s entrance. “I understand why students and adults do it. The school should put in a crosswalk and that is currently in the process,” Mr. Dennis says. He says that they are currently working with the city to put a crosswalk in place that would solve many issues.

The SRHS staff and community hope that students are able to see that they have their entire lives ahead of them, something not worth losing to save one minute of walking. The school is currently working on a better crosswalk solution, but for the meantime stay safe.