By Caroline Alphonso, The Globe and Mail
In the days after learning of the death of a five-year-old girl who was pinned between two cars outside her school, principal Adalgisio Joe Bria was moved to action.
Within two weeks, he sent at least three traffic safety e-mails to families at All Saints Catholic School in the city's west end, reminding them that three-point turns were not permitted in the parking lot, and asking them to respect the speed limit, not to outmanoeuvre or block school buses and to drop children off in the appropriate areas.
The communication comes as Mr. Bria and educators in many parts of the city are growing increasingly worried about the number of distracted drivers dropping off and picking up their children from schools. Those concerns were heightened after Camila Torcato, a senior-kindergarten student at St. Raphael Catholic School in North York, died in hospital last month after being pinned by an SUV in her school's drop-off area. She was about to climb into her family's minivan when an unoccupied vehicle rolled into the little girl and her father, pinning them both against their car. (Toronto Police spokesman Mark Pugash said last week that the investigation is continuing).
"I thought of my own kids. We need to do our very best to keep all of our children safe," Mr. Bria said. "Accidents happen in the blink of an eye and I think it has forced us to go back and take a look at our practises, to make sure that we're doing the best we possibly can. Regrettably, it could happen anywhere."
The issue, some educators say, is that schools especially in Toronto are located in densely populated neighbourhoods where residents park on the street. Parents are left to jostle for a spot at drop-off time. In Halton, west of Toronto, newly built schools have drop-off loops for parents and school bus zones are separated from the parent drop-off areas.
Toronto kindergarten student’s death spurs drop-off safety fears - G&M (9)