It’s the Principal of the Matter

A great deal of noise has been made in the name of traffic calming here in Aurora, unfortunately it has been concentrated on one area of town receiving preferential treatment above the rest. A noble experiment it was not.

York Region has identified 3 community safety zones in Aurora on this site as indicated on their map:
http://www.york.ca/Departments/Transportation+Services/Traffic+and+Technology/PedSafetyCampaignCommunitySafetyZones.htm

When the issue was raised in my area of town, not a community safety zone, and additional measures were requested and denied I was okay with that as I commented on in this post here: https://wattstrending.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/keep-calm-and-both-hands-on-the-wheel/

Without rehashing that post I was simply encouraging drivers to exercise common sense and take responsibility for their own safety and the safety of others on our road networks.

I was not suspecting what I witnessed on Thursday February 28th at 8:28AM when walking my daughter to school. The principal of Devins Dr. Public School drove southbound on Banff Drive in excess of the residential speed limit before reaching Devins Dr. where she failed to make a complete stop.

The intersection of Banff Dr. & Devins Dr is a 4-way stop. No attempt to stop was made as she turned.

Given the extreme snowy conditions of the 28th (snowfall in excess of 5cm) greatly reducing a safe breaking distance, along with high snowbanks that reduced visibility it was shocking to witness this act of reckless driving with children present on both sides of Banff Dr. making their way to school.

That Friday while dropping off my daughter she identified the principal as the individual exiting the same sports coupe that we witnessed make the rolling stop.

It’s one thing to discover the diver to be a parent, another if it was a teacher or administrator, but for the principal of a school her conduct is simply reprehensible.

So what is one to do?

First and foremost I filed a report with the York Regional Police’s RoadWatch program.

I had planned to bring this matter before the school’s Traffic Safety Committee but it has been disbanded. Unfortunate given that committee’s significant steps in improving the school’s overall safety last year including making multiple presentations to council.

Without familiarizing myself with the YRDSB policies I contacted the school board trustee because upon a cursory glance I suspect the action I witnessed would be considered in contravention of Board Policy #540.0 – Health and Safety.

It also appears to me to be an example of "conduct that reflects negatively on the school board" as described under the heading "Inappropriate Conduct" in Board Policy #578.0 Professional Misconduct and Progressive Discipline.

Not to mention the school’s own code of conduct mandated by the province.

The trustee passed along my concern to the Superintendent, who I had a couple exchanges with but was not left with any restored sense of confidence in the overall safety the YRDSB is capable of delivering to Devins Drive Public School students, staff and surrounding residents.

What is needed is recognition of and immediate attempts to change such poor behavior.

It is unlikely that a community can create a zone to provide them safety from dangerous driving school officials and I concur with York Regional Police Staff Sgt. Brad Bulmer who said in this Error Banner article that it is the YRP’s experience that community safety zones have a limited effect on eliminating bad behavior by motorists:
http://www.yorkregion.com/news-story/1465624-plan-aims-to-slow-down-traffic/

Without signs, without crosswalks, without chicanes and without magic zones what is going to change the poor behavior of these drivers?

Back in September of last year students and staff at St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic High School in Aurora got a lesson in road safety when York Region and York Regional Police (YRP) launched a high school Pedestrian Safety Campaign at the school as reported on here: http://www.ycdsb.ca/news/archive/092812PedSafety.htm

That is a start.

Of course the YRDSB could exercise a little more effort in hiring staff with principles that align with their objectives, but as that is unlikely I’d also suggest that the YRP consider beefing up their presence around these schools on a rotating basis to catch violators in the act.

Instead of red light cameras at Yonge & Wellington why not direct some of that effort to identified problem areas with schools at the top of the list.

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