Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Passion for Protection

Passion for protection

As the mother of three kids, I’ve lightly dabbled in the arena where teachers excel -- the classroom. I’ve taught Sunday school, and watched the occasional classroom full of kids while a teacher goes to lunch. I’ve also coaxed my 6-year-old son to write 10 words on a piece of paper in a single sitting. Good teachers are a gift.

Last weekend, we lost one of our chosen few in a car crash when a 29 year-old Nixa elementary school teacher was killed after being partially ejected from her vehicle; she wasn’t wearing a seat belt.

Missouri’s state legislature has failed to pass a primary seat belt law. However, odd as it may seem, Nixa, a small town just south of Springfield is among 12 cities that have now passed their own city primary seat belt ordinances. In those cities drivers can be pulled over solely for not wearing their seat belt. Fines range from $10 and up and include city court costs. In Nixa, the cost of a seat belt ticket is about $75.

Willard, another southwest Missouri town passed their city ordinance on Monday, Dec. 14, just after the teacher from Nixa elementary was killed. The timing is a chilling coincidence.

Other towns in Missouri with primary seat belt ordinances include Ava, St. Louis County, Creve Coeur, Ballwin, Weston, Merriam Woods, St. John, Willow Springs, Chesterfield and Herculaneum. Many of them site crash statistics in the area as the reason they’ve taken matters into their own hands, in the absence of action on the state level. Often it is the passion of a victim’s family member or friend that helps to get things moving. Possibly something like the unnecessary death of a beloved young teacher who touched the lives of so many kids.

Laws can help protect real people, so can your seat belt. Please buckle up!