Safety and security at St. John’s

The past week’s sunshine has made it feel like summer here in Belgium! And the sunshine and great weather has brought people out to school walking, pushing prams, and riding bikes. This is great, except that the challenges of walking or pushing a pram or biking around St. John’s can be a real challenge. We need your help to remedy this situation.

CARS – Please remember that parking, or sitting your car to wait for a student, outside the school on the sidewalk and bike path of Dreve Richelle is not permitted. I have been out at the front of the school to help clear these cars, but one that was left by a parent was ticketed by the local police with a 100 Euro fine! Please help us keep the cycle paths, walking paths and sidewalks clear for bikers and pedestrians by following the enclosed plan for drop-off in the morning. We can keep the paths clear in the afternoon by allowing children to walk home, if within walking distance, or arriving to pick up the older children when most of the younger children have been collected, by about 15:50. This would alleviate some of the congestion around the front, and the back, of the school between 15:30 and 15:45.

BIKES – We are working on plans for more and better bike racks, and hope to have them in the near future. This would allow more people to bike to school without the need for so many cars to drop students off and pick them up. Bikes are a great way to get around, especially in this nice weather, but we need to keep the sidewalks and paths clear for them to ride.

PEDESTRIANS – It is great that so many of our parents and students can walk to school. Please make sure to use the sidewalks, cross only on cross-walks, and make sure that cars and motorcycles see you when coming to an intersection. We appreciate people walking to ease traffic congestion and the environment!

MASTER CAMPUS PLAN – As part of the strategic planning initiative last year, a strategy to develop a campus master plan (has been approved by the Board and will soon be initiated. This campus master plan, a vision of the St. John’s campus 5-15 years out, will include a look at traffic flow, use of space, and potential improvements to both. Also, the plan will put forth ideas to consider for improvement of the facilities to enhance teaching and learning. We will be seeking volunteers with interest and expertise in schools, architecture and design to be part of the committee. Watch the blog and Headlions in weeks to come for more information.

INTERNAL CONTROLS – St. John’s has recently initiated a study of its own safety and security measures (fire alarms, access control, camera surveillance, evacuation procedures, etc.). The study has shown weaknesses in some of the alarm systems that we feel need to be addressed. The Board has supported the request to move forward with upgrading the systems for alarms and surveillance in the coming months to ensure safety of all at St. John’s. We will keep you posted on the progress.

Your help in maintain a safe and secure campus is much appreciated.

Dr. Tom Hawkins