By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — A petition drive by a Riverside Academy West teacher helped result in school zone signs being installed near the school, 6403 Schaefer Road.
High school english teacher Zachary Pfleghaar, of Taylor posted the petition on change.org after seeing children crossing Schaefer, a major road, on a daily basis.
“Since its inception in 2005, Riverside Academy – West has educated roughly 600 students per year in the East Dearborn area,” the petition read. “Unfortunately, when the final bell rings and they are released from school, many of the children are forced to cross Schaefer Rd., a busy, four-lane road.”
The school’s principal, Ramzi Saad, said it was a team effort to start the petition.
“The whole school was behind the initiative,” he said. “Zachary posted the petition online and we received the response we needed.”
Saad also was happy with the way the Police Department handled the situation once they were aware of the issue.
“They saw our request and reached out to us to help with getting the traffic signs,” he said. “We already have two signs placed near the school, the next step will be getting a crosswalk for students who cross Schaefer Road.”
In the petition addressed to Mayor John O’Reilly Jr., Police Chief Ronald Haddad and Wayne County Commission Chairman Gary Woronchak, Pfleghaar asked for crosswalks and stoplights to accommodate the safety of the students.
“Students should not have to worry about being struck by a car on their walk to and from school,” the petition read. “What this road needs is a crosswalk and school-zone signs alerting motorists to drive 25 mph during appropriate hours.”
The petition had the 302 supporters needed by Oct. 1, but the signs and crosswalk were already ordered by the Police Department to be placed near the school.
Pfleghaar voiced his concern over the three students, one from Riverside and two from Fordson High School, who suffered injuries after being struck by vehicles last year.
“The closest crosswalk is over 600 feet away at the corner of Haggerty St. and Schaefer Rd, but many of the students often visit Hemlock Park, which is less than a block away in the opposite direction from the crosswalk,” Pfleghaar wrote in the petition. “There are currently no signs alerting motorists a school is present nor are there any crosswalks for the students to safely and expediently travel to Hemlock Park.”
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)