Rampant threats to student safety must be addressed


Natalie Arbatman, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Every time I arrive at and leave school, I am at risk of getting hit by a car. With juniors and seniors getting their licenses, an increase in pedestrians and bikers, and fewer parking lots, entrances to the school are teeming with new drivers, frantic bikers, and threats to student safety. 

According to Mike’s Memos, the principal’s email newsletter, two minor accidents have already occurred near the school. The risk of injury or death is quite high on busy streets like Truman and Bryant, and for that reason, I am calling on the administration to take steps to create a safer environment and for students to engage in safe behavior while commuting.

To avoid further accidents and minimize the threat to student safety, the school should implement more clear guidelines for drivers and bikers on sharing the road. They should also hire two crossing guards or designate staff to direct traffic at intersections in the front and back lots before and after school. 

According to Assistant Principal Daniella Quiñones, the school has been working with the City of Mountain View to hire a crossing guard, but has run into issues surrounding staff shortages. Hiring a guard through the MVLA district may prove just as challenging. Whatever logistical issues that are preventing a guard from being hired must be resolved as soon as possible in order to hire someone to direct traffic. Every additional day the school waits to implement a guard, they are putting their students in danger. 

Quiñones said that she sometimes steps in as a crossing guard. While we do not have an official guard hired, available and willing staff should be trained and serve as guards when needed. 

Aside from administrative actions, students play a role in making our roads safer. According to Principal Mike Jimenez, the school has received reports from neighbors of students’ cars “swerving around other vehicles, making U-turns in the middle of the street, and speeding.” These reckless behaviors increase the chance of injury or death via car accident. 

In the guidelines provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for safe biking, they suggest driving predicatively because “by driving predictably, motorists get a sense of what you intend to do and can react to avoid a crash.”

They also recommend bikers to “travel in the same direction as traffic and signal and look over your shoulder before changing lane position or turning.”

Moreover, according to bikelaw.com, bike hand signals reduce the risk of being hit by a car because signaling your intentions can make being hit by a careless driver less likely.

These are all basic and easy-to-follow safety precautions that every student biker should adhere to. If we want school to be as safe as possible for students, both the administration and students ought to take these actions to ensure safer roads.