West High School Principal Sven Gustafson is describing it as “a wake-up call” after a student was hit by a car Monday morning directly in front of the school.

Gustafson said the student was in the crosswalk on Hillcrest Drive when he was struck shortly before 7 a.m. He was taken to the hospital but was able to return to class later that day.

West High Principal is urging drivers to watch for students who walk to school

About a quarter of the students at the high school walk or ride their bikes to school, according to Gustafson. Now that it’s dark in the morning, he’s particularly worried that drivers may not be paying enough attention.

“We have kids walking to school every day. High school, middle school, elementary school [...] we as adults need to be paying attention to all the things around us, especially around schools," he said.

Gustafson said the most critical times for drivers are between 6:30 and 9:30 a.m. and 2 to 4 p.m. when most students are coming or going to school.

students are encouraged to put reflective bands on their coats or backpacks

Since the accident, the school has responded by putting up signs and painting new lines for a crosswalk at the drop-off lane in front of the school. On Thursday students were offered free reflective bands to put on coats and backpacks.

Gustafson said his main hope is that people become more aware that students are walking in the dark.

“Let’s just pay attention a little more,” he said, adding that we can all play a part in keeping kids safe.

Correction: This story has been edited to correct the street name in front of the school.

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