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Wando changes pickup rules over students running into traffic

Wando changes pickup rules over students running into traffic after school (WCIV)

Worries about student safety are prompting major changes at Wando High School in Mount Pleasant.

Starting Monday, Jan. 14, the school will no longer allow students to walk off campus after school to meet their ride on Carolina Park Blvd.

The focus of the rule change primarily is on student safety, with traffic improvement also factored in.

"After much discussion with the Mount Pleasant Police Department and parents, we are confident that this will improve the flow of traffic and our pick up procedure while increasing the overall safety of students and drivers," Wando administration said in a letter to parents this week.

Wando staff said they received as many as five complaints a week about the situation, with children crossing Carolina Park Blvd. in the afternoons, as thousands of students and hundreds of drivers scramble to get in and out quickly. Some of those drivers are students themselves, only 16 or 17 years old.

Students are supposed to be picked up in a carpool lane in front of the school. Instead, “you were just getting cars stopping in different places trying to pickup,” says Mount Pleasant Police Officer Lt. Pat Carter.

Officials say cars often stop in the road to pick up students who've crossed through traffic to wait in the median of Carolina Park Blvd. and Park Avenue Blvd. across from Wando High School.

School leaders say it’s an accident waiting to happen. ABC News 4 witnessed repeated evidence of that with our Sky View 4 drone Wednesday, as students ran across four lanes of traffic to jump into waiting cars after school.

“We are trying to be proactive. It’s only a matter of time, and we don’t want one child hurt,” says Wando Campus Safety Manager Amy McCarthy. "At dismissal there's a lot of children. We have hundreds of kids who are dumping from two student parking lots, as well as our buses, which are leaving at that time. Then we have hundreds of parents who are coming for pickup.”

Starting Monday, January 14, Wando and Mount Pleasant Police are enforcing a new procedure.

Students must wait for their ride home to arrive at the front of the main building in the pickup line. Students who would ordinarily walk home will be allowed to do so, but drivers will no longer be allowed to stop in the road to pick up students waiting in the median.

Drivers who do could be stopped by police. Students who don't follow protocol will face new disciplinary action from the school.

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