Student struck by car outside high school Spare News

Long-standing concerns about traffic congestion around JH Bruns Collegiate reached a new height this week, after a student was hit by a vehicle outside the Southdale-area school.

Paramedics were called to a scene near the intersection of Tamarac Bay and Lakewood Boulevard shortly after 8:30 am Tuesday to assist a student struck while he was running across the street.

The Louis Riel School Division confirmed the boy suffered a soft-tissue injury, resulting in stiffness and soreness, but had been released from Children’s Hospital and is expected to return to class once he fully recovers.

A parent who was dropping her teenager off at the time of the incident and witnessed the aftermath said everyone was in “utter shock,” and many drivers got out of their cars to check on the student lying injured in the middle of the street.

“It’s consistently congested,” said Sia Erlendson, a mother of two in the division who said parents have long complained about worsening traffic in the community.

Parents can spend upwards of 20 minutes waiting in line to reach and leave drop-off and pickup points, she said.

In an email to families Tuesday afternoon, JH Bruns principal Megan Vankoughnett relayed the event and the school’s response.

Administrators, student services teachers and divisional clinicians were made available to community members throughout the day, she said, adding these individuals helped students “to debrief and identify ways to care for themselves and others.”

School board chairwoman Sandy Nemeth said student safety is always top of mind, and trustees have follow-up conversations after “devastating” events like this one to discuss how-to avoid any similar events in the future.

Erlendson said she wants to see the division act swiftly to make changes.

“Ultimately, some sort of action needs to be taken because someone got hurt. How do we prevent people from getting hurt on an increasingly busy street and (given what’s) anticipated for this area?”

There were 762 students enrolled in the high school at the start of the 2021-22 academic year. The student population is projected to grow to 782 this year, and increase steadily in 2024 — should proposed catchment changes be approved.

The division has tabled a series of sweeping changes to address enrollment pressures in its southeast quadrant, including making JH Bruns the newly designated high school for English program students who live in Sage Creek.

Students in the growing suburb — who are currently bussed to Shamrock School for middle years because their neighborhood elementary school is an overcrowded dual-track facility — attend Windsor Park Collegiate for high school at present.

LRSD wants to build an addition at JH Bruns so it can accommodate pupils from Sage Creek, starting in September 2024. Given the distance between the school and the suburb, the new additions will likely commute via bus, car and bicycle.

The Southdale high school’s population is expected to reach 940 by June 2028.

Superintendent Christian Michalik said the division is in the early stages of planning in the hopes that the province will approve the building’s expansion and construction. A formal traffic study of the area will be completed at some point, he said.

“We are always monitoring and are vigilant about traffic safety concerns in all 40 of our schools. It’s regrettable, but we have students who are the victims of traffic, vehicular accidents and so it’s an ongoing focus,” Michalik said, adding the latest incident has renewed the importance of overall vigilance and school staff monitoring drop-off and pickup activity.

Michalik did not commit to any immediate policy or infrastructure changes Thursday, but he noted LRSD advocated for improved traffic safety measures when a child died in 2018, after the student at École Varennes was struck by a motorist as he crossed St. Anne’s Road.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.


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