Dubai: Some parents with school-going children have expressed concern that those using personal transport for school runs are flouting traffic rules and posing grave safety risks during the morning and afternoon rush hours near school zones as they drop off or collect their children.
Randy Carlos, a Filipino father of two who drives his children to school, sought to raise the issue with Gulf News. “When traffic builds up near the school entrance, many parents would just drop their kids in the middle of the road without checking if there are other cars behind them. This usually happens around 7:00 to 7:15am as classes start at 7:30am. There are those who guide traffic, but some parents just ignore them,” he said.
Biju Sam, another expatriate whose son goes to a school in Al Warqa, said parents who are in a rush not only endanger children but other road users as well. “There are many parents who block the road without bothering about someone coming from behind. Many of them don’t pay attention to other road users. You see this quite often. When you’re doing things in a rush, it could have repercussions,” he said.
During a random check near the Oud Metha Road area in Dubai on Monday morning, Gulf News spotted several parents dropping off children on the side of the road leading to their school due to the traffic build-up near the main entrance of the school. There were also children crossing the busy road unmindful of the pedestrian lane about three metres away to get to their school on the other side. Some parents had also parked along the side roads that are non-parking zones to drop off their children.
Among the many schools along Oud Metha Road, The Indian High School is notable for designating clear drop-off and pick-up points for students. School authorities still deemed it necessary to send out a special reminder to parents. “We request parents to drop students only at the designated gates and as per the school timings, even at the cost of some inconvenience to them,” Ashok Kumar, school principal, told Gulf News.
Kumar said the school has put in place various measures to ensure the safety of students, school staff and guardians. “Students can be dropped off only at designated spots, at gates that are manned by special security at all times. A list of ‘own transport’ students is available at security and security personnel check the students both at entry and exit. Entry and exit of own transport students is controlled by scanning and punching of RFID [radio frequency identification] cards issued to them,” he said, adding that school authorities have also created a department dedicated to the pastoral care of students.
At Arab Unity School and North American International School in Mirdiff, special measures have been put in place this academic year to ensure the safety of students.
“Parents have to come inside the school to drop off and pick up their children. No children will be allowed to leave school premises without their guardians,” said Arab Unity School principal Sunita Bhudwani.
Alan Hare, events coordinator at Deira International School, said that road safety awareness programmes should be conducted all-year round. “We have traffic wardens who slow traffic down, so it’s generally safe for everyone. On occasion there are parents who don’t follow [rules] but they are given a warning. They may be in a rush but I’m sure there’s nothing more important than the safety of their child,” he said.