Tragic Death of 5 year old in Toronto

As many of you have heard, there was a tragic death of a 5 year old girl at a Toronto school yesterday afternoon.  This was as a result of car pinning the girl and her father against another vehicle.
This tragedy is a symptom of a bigger issue that exists at all schools in Ontario – that being parents driving their children to and from school.  We are not sheltered or exempted from this.  We are appreciative and thankful to those of you who have embraced the value and benefits of walking your children to and from school; for those of you who have adjusted your work schedules to walk your children to and from school; for those of you who have partnered with other parents and take turns walking your children to and from school; for those of you who have taken advantage of our “Trailblazer” program and having your children walk with them to and from and school.
However, there are still far too many parents who are driving their students to and from school which causes a lot of congestion around the school.  We witness every morning and every afternoon the unsafe and illegal driving practices of parents – parents who feel entitled and/or in a hurry with little or no regard for the rules of the road.  This may be a harsh statement but sadly it is true.  There have been many times where students have been nearly hit by a car due to their disregard for the safety of other children. We don’t want to be the next school in Ontario reporting a tragic death as a result of a child being hit by a car.
We have provided for you the Toronto Star Article that came out this morning.  We have also provided for you a CTV interview from yesterday.  Please review these two news items.
We have been discussing this issue back in the fall with our school council.  They too, are concerned about how we can better address the traffic around the school.  At our school council meeting tomorrow night, we have invited Leslie Maxwell who is the school travel planner with the Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region.  She will be presenting some suggested best practices and soliciting suggestions through the formation of a subcommittee of the council.  Our goal is to become a “walking school” where all parents leave their vehicles at home.  Although this is a lofty goal, we believe that it is one that can be attained if we all work together and commit to practices that ensures that all of our students arrive and leave school safely.
Tonight, when you put your children to bed, give them a big hug and a kiss.  Tell them how much you love them and cherish that moment.  Then, make a commitment to them by telling them that you will be part of the solution and not the problem.
​Helmut Tinnes