(Near-) accidents around the school
Rob knocked loudly on my classroom window and shouted ” Again, a near-accident in front of the school. I believe it is Debbie from your group!!”
Many teachers will have had the feeling that this kind of events need to stop. Why are so many parents bringing their children to school by car? Is it the feeling: my child is that precious that I can hardly give it freedom? I need, as a parent, to protect my child against all kind of dangers. Is it: my child is not allowed to become grown-up? Many questions. At the same time, inside the school building we try to teach you, as a child, to become independent, to become grown-up, and to have an opinion of your own.
In 1976 in Germany over 90% of German children (age 6 and 7) went on their own or in groups to their school. In 2000, it was only 52%. Nowadays some 25% under 15s are brought to school by car.
In the UK: “The AXA RoadSafe Schools report 2013 highlighted the worrying number of road traffic accidents that occur on roads in the vicinity of schools.
The report’s findings include evidence that:
In 37 per cent of local school areas, at least one child sustained a road injury each year from 2006 to 2011. In this period, there were 85,814 child injuries on roads within a 500-metre radius of schools, the equivalent of 1,190 incidents a month.”
In Sweden: 72% of school leaders believe that parents bringing their children to school by car are a serious traffic safety problem around the school. 20% of school leaders also think that parents are not serious enough when it comes to traffic rules! Parents are the biggest problem according to 46% of school leaders.
Admittedly traffic has become heavier, children have problems with concentration – also as a participant in traffic but I fear it is also what was said earlier: parents have difficulties in preparing their children to be a traffic participant.
Is it the task of the school to educate children to cope with the traffic? The answer must be yes, because school is teaching for life. Is the school responsible for any child once they are around the school involved in an accident? Several schools wherever in Europe will say no, some will say no outside a certain area around the school, some will say : the full tour from home to school is a shared responsibility between school and parents. And the insurance companies?
Some schools will say we will get into trouble when it comes to the judicial side of the coin, but also at the pedagogical side. I evern heard a volunteer in a youth club saying to children that they were not allowed to climb a tree in the wood where they intended to go. Not because of nature (?) but because there might be an accident…..Good heavens! No freedom, no learning how to become independent or to learn what climbing is and the skills and knowledge it can teach.
Are parents – and in the meantime also teachers – more and more – transferring their own anxieties (also their anxieties for what might happen and the consequences) on their children. It creates a future society where anxieties are steering our behaviour or is that already going on? How many parents have already talked to teachers about the safety of their child in and around the school?
And what is the situation around your school?
What is your school policy?
Let us hear what you think?.