Police presence aims to prevent illegal drop offs

Google/John Ishikawa

Areas marked in red are illegal drop off locations. The Victory Lane drop off is the only legal place to drop off students.

By Spenser Easterbrook, Opinions Editor

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CHS began receiving assistance this year from the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) to help control morning traffic outside the school. CHS is the only high school in the Rockville police district to receive support from the police for traffic-related problems.

 

MCPD began morning patrols in response to growing concerns from CHS leadership and complaints from local neighbors.

 

According to assistant principal Edward Reed, anxiety has increased over student safety since a student was hit crossing Gainsborough Road illegally two years ago.

 

“I think we’ve been fortunate in the fact that we haven’t had more accidents with students getting hit,” security team leader Terry Bell said.

 

According to a MCPD Rockville Motor Squad officer who wished to remain anonymous, the officers’ main focus has been pedestrian safety. He cited parents dropping off students in the middle of Gainsborough Road as their first concern.

 

In the first few weeks of school, officers solely gave out warnings. However, now that the probation period has ended, officers are ticketing parents who do not follow posted signs and established traffic laws.

 

According to PTSA president Geri Shapiro, every morning she has dropped off outside the school she has witnessed both parents and students behaving irresponsibly.

 

Due to the severity of the situation, members of several branches of the CHS community are working to promote traffic safety for students. The PTSA has discussed the issue during meetings and sent out information via the electronic newsletter. In addition, CHS security team members are posted outside the school to remind drivers and pedestrians of traffic laws.

 

Though many parents who wish to avoid the backup at the official drop-off lane choose to let students out on Georgetowne Drive because it leads to a crosswalk, the “no stopping” signs on this street and other side streets make drop offs there illegal.

 

“We encourage students to use the dropoff on Victory [Lane],” Principal Joan Benz said.

 

According to the member of the Rockville Motor Squad, though MCPD’s primary concern is illegal drop offs on Gainsborough Road, they are also issuing tickets to parents dropping off on Georgetowne Drive.

 

The police officers do not come on a set schedule; rather, they show up randomly to ensure parents do not only obey traffic laws when they expect officers to be there.

 

According to Benz, police presence helps improve traffic safety on the days that they are there and for a brief period afterwards. After a couple days, however, the illegal drop offs resume.

 

MCPD and CHS will work over the course of the next few months to improve the situation outside the school.

 

“Kids could get hurt,” Shapiro said. “Kids have gotten hurt.”