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Tenderloin Among Most Dangerous School Zones - By jkukura - December 9, 2016 - SF Weekly
SF Weekly

Tenderloin Among Most Dangerous School Zones

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It’s no surprise that the Tenderloin is not typically the safest place for children to attend elementary school. But a new study by a personal injury and accidental death law firm ranks an elementary school zone in the Tenderloin as the second most dangerous in the state of California.

The Los Angeles-based personal injury firm Panish, Shea & Boyle crunched the numbers to rank the most dangerous elementary school zones in California. “As consumer safety advocates – and parents ourselves – we wanted to find out which California elementary schools are the most dangerous for students getting to and from school,” the study says.

The study assigns an overall “risk score” to 6,000 different elementary school zones in California, based on the zones’ annual rate of car accidents, bike accidents, and pedestrian accidents that occur within a half-mile radius of the school. The overall rate of these accidents puts Tenderloin Community School at the No. 2 spot in the most dangerous elementary school locations in the state.

We should emphasize that this ranking is in no way a reflection on the professionalism or dedication of the Tenderloin Community School, its faculty, or what goes on every day inside the school. Tenderloin Community School bills itself as “the brightest building in the Tenderloin,” and its faculty faces surely relentless challenges educating kids in a neighborhood with an inherently high at-risk population.

But on the basis of the 209 car accidents, 88 pedestrian accidents, and 54 bicycle accidents that occurred within a half mile of the school last year, Tenderloin Community School does rank as having one of the most dangerous school zones in the state.

The SF Weekly reached out to data visualization firm 1point21interactive, who contributed to the study. “This study is solely based on traffic collisions and does not take incidents inside the school or crime activity into account,” 1point21Interactive Project Lead Brian Beltz tells the SF Weekly. “The overall goal of this study is awareness.”

A parent of two children himself, Beltz emphasized how parents can model safety to children when on particularly dangerous streets.

“Children learn behaviors through experience,” he says. “When you or another parent or care provider walk with them, exhibit the behaviors that promote safety around traffic.  Put the phone down and pay attention to what’s going on around you. Obey all traffic signals, cross the street at controlled crossings and always look both ways. It’s important to talk about this with your child as you do it.”

“Look into what sort of pedestrian safety measures your school is using,” Beltz adds. “Consider becoming involved in or starting a Safe Routes to School program. Talk to your school administrators, other parents, teachers, community members, and local government if you don’t feel that there is enough being done.”

San Francisco acquits itself pretty well overall in terms of school safety in the study. The majority of the most dangerous school zones in California are located in Los Angeles, and only 14 of the 100 most dangerous elementary school zones are located in San Francisco.