When it’s sunny outside, the East parking lot is a dangerous place. With teenagers driving amuck and parents speeding down the carpool lane, no one is safe from an accident. After a few days of snow and below-freezing temperatures, it’s even worse. Cars slide and snow piles make two-way roads one-way and ice makes the blacktop and sidewalks extremely slick, causing students and staff to fall and injure themselves.
For the first time since 1983, when the district first began recording snow days, school has already been cancelled six times this winter due to inclement weather. KMBC chief meteorologist Bryan Busby estimates the Kansas City area has seen 30 inches of snow this winter. More snow could be on the way and students, parents and staff all have increased responsibilities when it comes to the East parking lot and surrounding roadways.
The first responsibility falls upon the district’s operations and maintenance team to make sure that, should we experience snow or ice again this winter or anytime in the future, they properly treat and plow the parking lots and sidewalks. Huge snow piles on the medians made visibility weak and students had to be extra careful when pulling out of the lot. After one snowy day, the parking lots weren’t even plowed and no one could see the parking lines. Because of the ice-covered roads, one teacher has been sent to the hospital with broken ribs and a punctured lung. Students have also taken plenty of falls this year walking from their car to school and one teacher fell and had a bleeding elbow. The junior lot has had issues with cars being unable to leave because a lack of snow removal caused parking problems. Now, in an effort to keep that problem from happening again, the district treats the parking lots daily in the early morning with salt and sand, according to Principal Karl Krawitz. While we applaud this step, in the future, the district should do a better job of taking preemptive measures and not just reacting after someone gets hurt.
Secondly, parents need to have student safety in mind. The East parking lots are bad enough with traffic when there’s no snow on the ground, so when a two-car lane only fits one car due to snow then all drivers in the lot need to be patient and courteous. Rushing to the turning lane and cutting other drivers off is not only impolite, but dangerous. Another obstacle in bad weather has been students and parents turning into the senior lot going north on Mission Rd. While this is generally a problem throughout the year, bad weather adds another element to the conditions. Parents and students driving south to turn into the lot need to do the best they can to allow cars coming from the south to also turn in. If the Prairie Village police or a district police officer were to direct the road traffic on these icy days, getting to school would be an easier and safer task.
Whether Mother Nature has more snow in store or not, students, staff and students need to take care to put in the extra effort on snowy days. The district needs to make sure the lots are clear and students can park without fear of tires spinning out or breaking a leg walking into schools. Ensuring safety is always a priority. It is our collective duty as members of the East community to make an extra effort on days with poor driving conditions to prevent accidents from occurring. Keep our Lancer family strong by driving safely.