Here’s a quick quiz.
True or false: In Clark County, school was out in the middle of June.
True or false: When school is out, motorists no longer have to slow down when they drive through school zones.
True or false: As a motorist, I completely understand those signs that tell me to slow down in a school zone “when children are present.”
How did you do? If you answered “true” to any of these statements, you might have a traffic ticket in your future.
Admittedly, these could be categorized as some of those “trick questions” like the ones the toughest teacher in the school would serve up on pop quizzes. But the lesson learned here is that even though it’s summertime and, for most kids, the classroom is a distant memory, it’s still a good idea to pay attention to school-zone signs.
For most students, school was out by the middle of June. All those graduation ceremonies weren’t a figment of your imagination and, yes, most kids are hanging out at home and playing video games during the day.
But the Clark County School District is home to three year-round schools, and there may be more coming in the future. Year-round schools are in place to ease crowding and utilize a building’s resources beyond the traditional nine-month school year.
In Las Vegas, the year-round schools are Forbuss, Reedom and Wright elementary.
In addition to year-rounds, the district operates 14 “Zoom Schools” that operate an additional 17 days at the end of the school year to improve student literacy.
Friday was the last day for Zoom School students.
Summertime also is the time for summer school, and nine schools have students enrolled in classes through July 24. Those schools include Veterans Tribute Career and Technical Academy and eight high schools: Arbor View, Cimarron-Memorial, Clark, Coronado, Del Sol, Eldorado, Legacy and Sierra Vista.
Nicole Santero, a spokeswoman for the district, said even though most schools are closed, school police are patrolling school zones.
“Clark County School District police will operate traffic zone enforcement activities to remind the community and drivers that there are several schools still operating on a full-day schedule to accommodate the needs of students during the summer months,” Santero said.
Santero and Nevada Highway Patrol trooper Loy Hixon said it’s always a good idea to slow down around school zones, especially since many of them are situated near parks where children are out playing in the summer months.
And that leads to the third question of the quiz and the cryptic “when children are present” signage.
Warrior reader Bob was confused about a sign on Van Wagenen Street in Henderson. A school zone there is marked by a flashing yellow light with a sign that says, “Speed limit 15 mph when children are present.”
There could be several levels of confusion. Is the school zone active only when the lights are flashing? Or, is it active when children are present? Or, does it have to be flashing AND children are present?
Bob thinks a creative attorney could raise a defense if only one child is present, since the sign specifically addresses the plural “children.”
I’ve encountered a similar sign in a school zone and wondered if I needed to slow down because a person who appeared to be an adult was walking in the area.
Hixon recommends taking the common-sense approach: If in doubt, slow down and obey the slower speed limit.
“It’s only going to take maybe another 20 seconds to get through the school zone at the reduced speed,” he said. “Why risk endangering a pedestrian to get through 20 seconds faster?”
The most important takeaway is that even in the summer, school zones should be observed. It’s good practice for two months from now when all students will go back to the books.
PROBLEMS ON PARADISE
Aggravated and frustrated Warrior reader Scott has this inquiry about a rough stretch of Paradise Road.
“I have traveled Paradise Road for over a decade. I am wondering if and when the southbound lanes between Sands Avenue and Corporate Drive will ever be repaired. I can only assume that people who have something to do with getting the roads fixed have traveled this stretch of Paradise sometime in the last 10 years. Please ask them to leave now.”
Clark County officials responded that they have included that section of Paradise Road in a contract with a Desert Inn and Lamb Road improvement project. It will be completed within the next five months.
Oh, and if you abide by Scott’s request to leave, please fix the road before you go.
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