Principal has to act as crossing supervisor

THE ST Francis Xavier Primary School principal has taken on the role of a lollipop man to ensure the safety of the school’s pupils.

St Francis Xavier Primary School principal Paul Bissinella ensures Milly Sharp, Maddie Bolt and Kate McClure cross the road safely. PICTURE: JUSTIN WHITELOCK

St Francis Xavier Primary School principal Paul Bissinella ensures Milly Sharp, Maddie Bolt and Kate McClure cross the road safely. PICTURE: JUSTIN WHITELOCK

This comes after concern from parents about the safety of the area and an incident on Monday, when a reversing car clipped a bus. 

Principal Paul Bissinella said traffic and parking were ongoing concerns in the school community. 

“The road isn’t typically a busy road, but gets exceptionally busy at school times and occasionally with a bit of golf traffic,” he said. 

“We manage a bit more in the mornings as kids get dropped off over a 45-minute period, but when it comes to the afternoon pick-up, everyone comes at once.”

The Ballarat East school is near the end of a no-through road, which sees mainly traffic from the school and Mt Xavier Golf Course. 

Drivers must go past the school, veer off onto an unsealed road and go around a tree, before they can turn back onto the road and exit the way they came in on Fortune Street. 

The school purchased a high visibility vest and a stop sign at the start of the year if an occasion arose when it was needed. It has been using the equipment every day this week. 

“On Monday, while a car was backing out it clipped a bus. The damage was only minor to the vehicles and no one was hurt, so we’re lucky. 

“But it does highlight we need something to manage the traffic and, for the moment, that’s me.”

The principal has been helping pupils and parents cross the road each day after school since the accident.

After a 130-signature petition was put to Ballarat City Council in March 2011, works were considered as long as the school shared half the cost of the $522,000 for the works, which was not viable for the school. 

Following a meeting in June, the school asked council to investigate it using nearby private land to alleviate its traffic management problems, with pressure for a solution. 

The school now has a crossing, but a parking solution, traffic management and a crossing supervisor are still concerns. 

Mr Bissinella started as principal at St Francis Xavier this year, coming from a school in Swan Hill. 

“We had a crossing supervisor there, but pupils had to cross the bus zone before they got to the road and crossing,” he said. 

“I used to help the kids cross there each night. I’m happy to do it.”

Parent Beck Melder said when she picked her children up she held their hands tightly to get to their car.

“I’ve lived in Melbourne, and the traffic and parking here is worse. It’s atrocious.”

The Courier asked Ballarat City Council why it does not provide a crossing supervisor, but no response was received before publication.

nicole.cairns@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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