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Dancing traffic cones share important safety reminder for families

Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 11:59 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - It’s a simple reminder, but one that can’t be stressed enough.

For families dropping their kids off at school, being on the phone is a common practice, but it’s also a distraction. At Susitna Elementary, fourth-grade teacher Liann Walgenbach is helping kids get to school safely. She and another teacher have taken their crossing guard jobs to a new level by dressing up as dancing cones.

“Everyone loves a dancing traffic cone,” Walgenbach said as she waved to families and passing cars at the school.

But, behind the fun is an important safety message. “Be Safe, Be Seen” is a message the Anchorage School District is sharing with families. That’s being aware of your surroundings, following the rules of the road and slowing down in parking lots and at crosswalks.

With Alaska’s daylight hours dwindling in winter, kids and families are encouraged to wear reflective colors and clothing. While there are crossing guards at school, parents still have a big responsibility.

“We just want to remind parents as they’re driving kids to school to make sure they’re not on their cell phones and really paying attention,” said Sgt. Rayne Reynolds with the Anchorage Police Department. “Because these kids can dart in front of cars, and to make sure that we’re safe in the parking lots and just in the neighborhoods and things like that as the snow falls and starts to get icy, make sure we’re clearing those windshields off from ice.”

“It was a change,” Walgenbach added. “People are use to just hanging out at home, so having them, you know have to go five miles an hour and work through when and and where to pick them up and drop them off was a change for a minute, but they got the hang of it pretty quick.”

A new ordinance passed in 2019 makes it unlawful for a driver of any vehicle to talk on a mobile communication device while driving within an active school zone, or on school grounds, unless the vehicle is stopped, or a hands-free device is used.

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