A rodeo is going on at least twice a day in Prince Rupert. A limited few are aware of this rodeo and they are scared.
Rodeo cowboys have a dark motto: It’s not a matter of if they get hurt, it’s when and how bad.
At the current Prince Rupert rodeo, school kids are the cowboys, parents are the livestock and school staff are relegated to the status of rodeo clown.
Spend anytime around the twice-daily rodeo going on at Prince Rupert schools and one quickly understands that dark motto. It’s not a matter when a school child in Prince Rupert is going to be hurt, it’s just a matter of when and how bad.
Police will tell you. Teachers and principals will tell you. Those living around schools will tell you. They will tell you the livestock is running amok and the corral built to contain them is virtually useless.
The average rodeo bull weighs in at about 1,600 pounds and has a top speed of about 50 kilometres per hour. The average parent currently snorting and bucking around Prince Rupert schools with their vehicle weighs in at 3,800 pounds and depending on how late they are … they have been seen topping out in excess of 70 kilometres per hour.
Prince Rupert’s little cowboys and cowgirls would probably stand a better chance in the corral rather than a crosswalk. At least there, they can jump a physical fence to get the heck out of the way when the livestock stampede.
No parking signs, yellow curbs, bus-only areas, crosswalk lines, normal traffic laws seem to disappear, not unlike that of a colour-blind bull, when parents and guardians are either picking up or dropping off kids around our schools.
Quite realistically, the livestock is running the show at the school pick-up rodeo and eight seconds parked in the middle of a crosswalk while mama bull impatiently snorts her horn waiting for her little cowboy to take his chances and dart across oncoming traffic to climb aboard Bodacious the mini-van is normal in Prince Rupert.
To put this in proper context for parents with school children, they would be well-advised to walk down, yes, walk, to any school in Prince Rupert and just watch the rodeo.
Shortly thereafter, most would quickly tell their kids to exit through the back doors, walk home and avoid the corral all together.
Therein may lay one answer: Walk.
What the hell happened to walking home from school?
We all did it. And those students living too far away — if there is such a thing in the little Kaien Island community of Prince Rupert — can ride the taxpayer-paid school bus. But, again, that is if the mild cow of a school bus can steer into a space between the snorting parent bulls illegally parked in school-bus-only designated areas.
The second answer, and probably the only one that may make a difference is enforcement. The City of Prince Rupert could make a good dent in its much-ballyhooed infrastructure deficit if bylaw officers, if they do exist, showed up and started charging unruly livestock admission to the rodeo.
In the meantime, kids, cowboy up. And ambulance attendants, saddle up.