Drivers passing Kathryn Hughes Elementary School around student drop-off and pick up times might notice pedestrians carrying bright flags as they cross the street. Joe Young, serving his first year as the school principal, wants pedestrians from the school to stay safe while crossing the street. So he helped bring these flags to the campus.
“Back in September, the neighborhood went through a few weeks of the City repaving the streets,” Young recalled. “After they repaved the streets, they had to re-stripe a few crosswalks. As they were doing that, I was thinking of how we could increase the safety of our school’s pedestrians. We have safety patrol. They only patrol the crosswalk in front of our school at 8 a.m. until the morning bell rings and after school right at dismissal time. We have some families who use the crosswalk before 8 a.m. or after dismissal time. So when the safety patrol isn’t there, the flags are a helpful resource.”
Young explained that he had connected with AAA, which outfits Hughes’ safety patrol team. He worked with the organization to secure a generous donation of pedestrian flags for the school.
“The pedestrian flags are positioned at three crosswalks around our school,” Young said. “I was doing an initial assessment of which crosswalks had a larger number of pedestrians. After making our assessment, we determined that we wanted to put the majority of the flags at the crosswalk at Calle De Primavera. We have other flags at the one location in front of our school and the third location is the crosswalk at the north end of our campus.”
According to Young, the school received the flags around December and January. School community members prepared the flags with PVC pipes in January and February. At a February parent meeting that Young hosted, some parents commented on the history of traffic conditions in the school. With the parents from the Hughes PTA and School Site Council, the school community discussed safety improvements the school staff has implemented. In March, when pedestrians began using the flags, Young created a demonstration video about the flags.
“Our school safety patrol team takes data on a regular basis assessing how many cars make illegal U-turns and other traffic violations around the school. Jaywalking is also recorded. It’s part of the safety patrol program,” Young said. “Students on the school safety patrol program were trained at the beginning of the school year by Officer Taylor Carpenter of the Santa Clara Police Department. We continue to partner with our community on traffic and pedestrian safety. The school staff worked on the school safety plan while partnering with Officer Matthew Wurdinger of the Santa Clara Police Department.”