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Ludlow Makes Change on Where Elementary Students Can Be Dropped Off

Parents of students who attend Mary A. Goetz school in Ludlow will have to drop their children at the curb in front of the school as of February 2.
Due to a continuing concern about students being delivered on Oak street across the street from the school and then crossing the busy road in the early morning, Superintendent Michael Borchers and the school board believed that they had to do something to address the situation.
"We are sending the letters out to parents this week district-wide which will tell them that we only want them to drop the children off at the curb in front of the school," said Borchers. "We haven't had anything happen yet, but once it was brought to our attention we decided to be proactive. It is still dark between 7:30 and 8 in the morning, and we felt we needed to head off any potential accidents."
Borchers talked to the two School Resource Officers, Scott Nottingham and Bill Sparks, and they tossed around ideas of what could be done.
"We couldn't change Oak Street to one direction, even for an hour on school mornings because Oak street is the alternate route for Route 8, and it is also the bus route," explained Borchers. "This school is in the middle of a town, and it was designed for a walking community. Now parents drive their children to school, so it is crazy for a half hour in the morning and the afternoon. We decided if we limited drop-off to one side of the street, it would be safer for the students."
School Resource Officer Bill Sparks addressed the problem. "We have been monitoring the situation in the morning, and we have maybe 8 to 15 cars who drop their children on the sidewalk going east on Oak Street," he explained. "This is a safety issue for the children, because it is dangerous for them to cross the street at this time of day. So we are starting with the letter to parents telling them they can only drop their children on the school side of the street, going west, starting next Monday. If this doesn't work, we may have to go to city council and ask them if we can block traffic going east for an hour in the morning. However, if a bus would come, we would have to let it go through, so it is more of a last resort. We are hoping the letter works."
At least for the first week there will be plenty of officials in orange vests helping to remind parents and grandparents that while they can travel east and west on Oak, they can only drop their students off going west, or at the curb in front of Mary A. Goetz school.
"I will be out and about at least for a couple of days to see how it is working," said Borchers. "I know Jason Steffen, principal of Mary A. Goetz, will be out there too, as well as our school resource officers. We are all on the same team, parents, school, and police, and making sure the students are safe is our primary concern. We all have to roll up our sleeves and pitch in to improve this situation."
Story & photo by Patricia A. Scheyer
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