Campaign win leads to better student safety

Campaign win leads to better student safetyA mum at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School was nearly hit while walking her three children to school. Photo: Mosman Daily

Children at a primary school in Mosman will soon be able to cross the road safely, thanks to a campaign by the Mosman Daily.

This safety situation has frustrated parents of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School for several years.

Next month, during the school holidays, construction of a raised pedestrian crossing will begin outside the school in Queen St.

Currently, two orange flags with the words ‘Children Crossing’ are used to alert drivers to the school.

However, this situation is not ideal because drivers notice the flags too late, according Mosman Daily editor Boel Eriksson.

“They would come up a hill and not realise that there was a school coming up, and they would just race past,” she said.

“So this raised pedestrian crossing would slow cars down, and alert them that there is a school nearby.”

The Keep our Kids Safe campaign by the Mosman Daily ran for three weeks, beginning with a story from a local mother.

“We had a mum come forward to say she had nearly been hit while walking her three children to school,” said Ms Eriksson.

In the following two weeks, the paper published feedback from readers, interviewed Mosman councillor Simon Menzies, and wrapped up with an interview with Mosman mayor Peter Abelson in support of the pedestrian crossing.

Mosman Council voted against installation of the pedestrian crossing for two meetings in a row, Mr Menzies said, but this changed when the Mosman Daily covered the issue.

“Sometimes local councils will make different decisions if they know that the eyes of the community are watching them,” he said.

“I’ve been on the council for 12 years, and I’m very aware of what a big difference the local paper can make if they’re willing to join you on a campaign,” he said.

Mr Menzies said newspapers were able to bring about change, by giving a voice to the community, and bringing an issue to the forefront.

“When you’ve got lots of people talking about an issue, it gets action and the only way to get action is through the coverage in the local media,” he said.

“Almost every person in the community reads the Mosman Daily every week, so it sets the tone for what’s going to be happening if you’ve got a good argument.”

Ms Eriksson believes community newspapers are unique because of their ability to cover local issues. “We can cover these local issues that need to be solved,” she said.

The Keep Our Kids Safe campaign, which was created to address this particular issue, could become an ongoing campaign, said Ms Eriksson.

“Kids should be feeling safe walking to school, and parents should be able to send their kids to school and not be concerned they’d be injured or hit by a car,” she said.

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