The traffic flow at Southeast Elementary School has been a headache to some these first two weeks of school — a problem for those involved including students, teachers, parents and law enforcement.
"It is our number one objective to provide a safe place for children to receive an education and enjoy their experience while they are here with us," said Southeast principal Peggy Elliott. "We are working hard to improve the traffic situation to make it flow smoothly for the parents as we maintain our number one goal, the safety of our students."
Sweetwater Chief of Police Jim Kelley also believes that the safety of the children should be the number one goal for those involved. "We need help from parents to make dropping off and picking up children as safe as possible."
In the morning, the flow of traffic will continue to be one way around the building during the hours of 7:30-8:15 a.m. and 2:30-3:30 p.m. The following are a few areas being implemented in the school's attempt to improve safety in the delivery and pick up of children.
• Morning — All students should be dropped off at the front entrance of the school (Mustang Drive). All other doors will remain locked. All students will report to the gym first thing each morning. Each classroom teacher will pick up their students from the gym at 7:45 a.m. to go to class. Students arriving between 7:45 and 8 a.m. may go to their classroom. Instruction begins at 8 a.m. Students arriving after 8 a.m. will report to the office to receive an admittance slip.
• Afternoon — At the end of the day Kindergarten will be lined up and ready for pickup from the front of the building (Mustang Drive) and first graders will exit and be ready for pick up through the East doors of the building. Buses will pick up students on the East side of the building in the bus loading zone.
Chief Kelley suggested that one way to avoid the busy morning traffic is to drop kids off earlier than usual is possible. "Even if it is five minutes earlier, it might be easier to avoid traffic. Also, the gym opens up for students at 7 a.m. when school traffic seems to be less busy. Mrs. Elliott, Southeast teachers and staff and we at the Sweetwater Police Department are concerned about the safety of our children and we want the traffic flow to run as smoothly as possible."
Other ways that parents can help is to not pass cars in front of them during the pick-up and delivery of their child. Parents are also asked to refrain from parking on the wrong side of the street against the flow of traffic.
"We need your help and consideration," said Kelley. "We understand the inconvenience and your frustration, but don't stop and gripe at the teachers or law enforcement unless it is constructive. We all need to work together for the sake of the children. We realize there have been changes to the school and we are trying our best to make things run as smoothly and as quickly as possible. If you have any ideas that could help the flow of traffic, please talk to me or Mrs. Elliott about it."
Kelley asks that parents obey traffic cones and one-way signs. "And please buckle your kids," he added. "Safety is our number one goal and we hope to provide this for the children by working together."
Police officers will be enforcing the laws during morning and afternoon hours.