GRPS leader’s back to school warning to drivers: ‘Be careful’

Grand Rapids Public Schools safety news conference
Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky asks drivers to be vigilant during a Sept. 2, 2016 news conference.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As excitement builds for the Grand Rapids Public Schools’ first day of classes, two top officials have a word of warning for drivers and parents.

“On Tuesday, we will start moving about 100,000 people,” said GRPS Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal. “It’s going to increase traffic, but more importantly it’s going to increase the risks of children being harmed.”

Weatherall Neil joined Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky Friday morning to ask drivers to be cautious of kids commuting to school. They also pointed out that there will be some new drivers on the road this fall.

GRPS will kick off the new school year Tuesday, Sept. 6 by opening CA Frost Environmental Science Middle High School at 1417 Covell Ave. NW. The building was shuttered for a few years, so the district expects more traffic in the area.

Weatherall Neal told 24 Hour News 8 that she’s missed all of her students over the past eight weeks. She wants the community to help ensure they all get to and from school safely.

“We just want people to be aware,” Weatherall Neal said. “Leave a little early for the next couple weeks, so they’re not rushing because kids are going to be running out in the streets. They’re excited about school, but I want people to be careful.”

Rahinsky said the GRPD will have an “enhanced presence” for the first few days of school.

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