HELENA — In a recent move to protect students during the commute to and from school, Helena Public Schools are utilizing reflective tape on elementary students’ backpacks.
Last month, during a dark early morning, a local student was struck by a car while crossing Broadway St. on their way to school. While the child suffered only a few bumps and bruises, the school system wanted to do something to help protect kids on their way to and from school.
Superintendent Rex Weltz was among the first on scene that morning and helped the student.
Assistant Principal Dawn Rowling had the idea of utilizing reflective tape on kids’ backpacks in order to make them extra visible during dark mornings and evenings. The tape is available to all Helena area elementary schools and students are encouraged to line their backpacks in order to stay safe.
Weltz says that using reflective tape is just another great way of lighting up the community and making some of our most vulnerable be seen.
“We're just going to give them a little bit more reflective, right. We're going to brighten them up a little bit, because not all of our sidewalks are lit, not all of our crosswalks are lit. And so, this is just one more mechanism to help, you know, kind of have a student pop out, if you will,” says Weltz.
Weltz says this issue reaches beyond visibility and crosswalks.
According to Weltz, during the past couple months there have been 35 incidents in the Helena area alone of people disregarding School Bus stop signs and illegally driving around a stopped school bus.
Helena Public Schools wants to remind folks to be extra cautious when driving near or around schools, especially when the light is fading or altogether gone. Going the speed limit and staying extra vigilant could just save a life.