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Jefferson City middle school changes pickup, drop-off policy after pedestrian-involved crashes

The Jefferson City police chief issued a temporary ordinance for public safety after two pedestrian-involved crashes occurred at a middle school.

Starting Tuesday, parents will not be able to use the upper, or southeast, entrance to Lewis and Clark Middle School during arrival and dismissal times. The entrance will be reserved for buses only.

“Our biggest concern from a safety standpoint is that we have traffic coming from all different directions, so it’s really hard to manage,” said Kurt Mueller, the safety coordinator for Jefferson City Public Schools.

The changes are to help improve pedestrian safety, as police say the two crashes over the past couple years were serious.

“Those injuries were pretty serious resulting in broken limbs and things of that nature,” Capt. Doug Shoemaker, with the Jefferson City Police Department, said. “So we want to minimize those risks.”

“There were some instances where students may have, you know, just being kids and not really paying attention, or a driver may not have been paying attention and bumped into one of our students,” said Amy Berendzen, with Jefferson City Public Schools. “And then one incident did involve a staff member as well.”

Lewis and Clark Drive, the road that goes around the school, is a city street.

The temporary ordinance will only remain in effect for 90 days. But the district is working with police and the city to propose a bill to council to enact a permanent ordinance with the changes.

“We know this is going to be hectic and chaotic when we make the change and there will be some congestion and backup, especially down at this lower lot,” Berendzen said. “But let’s just be patient and remember the why, and the reasoning behind this is to keep our staff and students safe.”

ABC 17 News spoke to parents during dismissal Friday. Some said they did not think it would be much of a change since they already use the proper entrance. Others said they did not think it will make the issue of traffic congestion any better.

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