Parents in Clay Center are taking action to make sure their kids have a safe walk to school.
Some students need to cross the city's main street, which is Highway 24, to get to class. Parents say drivers aren't slowing down for the current crosswalks and school zones, putting their kids at risk.
Helen Kosman launched the effort. On Sept. 4, she says her 9-year old son was nearly hit by a vehicle that didn't slow for the speed zone. She donned an orange vest, got a stop sign, and has been out at the 4th and Crawford crossing to help kids en route to and from Garfield Elementary School ever since.
The school district does have crossing guards at the streets in the schools perimeter, but assistanct superintendent Cliff Williams says it doesn't have jurisdiction to do that at Crawford. In looking into Kosman's concerns, they've also learned a recent KDOT study found no Clay Center sites that require crossing guards or something to make traffic stop.
Williams says the district does provide neighborhood bus stops for elementary students so they don't have to cross the highway, and they've joined the parents in asking the city and police what else can be done.
In response, the police department has stepped up patrols of school zones and plans to help train crossing guard volunteers. Chief Bill Robinson says the department received training materials from KDOT this week, and he expects to hold a training session next month.
Until then, Helen will continue her watch.
"You shouldn't have to risk your life to cross the street to go to school," she says.
Nearly 200 people have signed a petition supporting Helen's efforts. She'll take it to the city council next week to request they apply for grants that could improve safety at the crossings.
People wishing to volunteer as crossing guards in Clay Center should contact Robinson at (785) 632-2121.