Fed up father pushing for drivers to slow down in school zones


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A local father, fed up with drivers who refuse to slow down in school zones, is taking matters into his own hands.

Jesse Sumner's two children are students at Pickett Elementary, located on Old Kings Road, near Soutel Drive. Every day, he and his wife are at the school when the school zone light starts flashing until about 8:10 or 8:15 a.m. and the speed limit drops to 15 miles per hour. 

The principal says there aren't very many kids who walk to school. But Sumner says he's still concerned about the ones who do, and he wants to get the word out.

Every morning at 7:30 sharp, just like clockwork, Jesse Sumner sits across from Pickett Elementary School, watching the road from his SUV.

"I turn a light on the truck, to try to help others notice it's a school zone and slow down," said Sumner.

Sumner says every day, he sees drivers on their phones, in cars and semi’s, and ignoring the flashing light indicating a school zone where the speed limit is 15 mph.

All of this takes place as students and parents are walking to the school.

"On an average day, there are 12 to 15 students that walk down the road, down these sidewalks. I don't want to see any one of them, as much as I would not want to see one of mine, get hurt," said Sumner.

Sumner got the idea to install his own flashing light. While on watch, Sumner takes videos to document what drivers are doing. He says so far, the response has been good.

"It's enlightening and heartening to see the thumbs up, the ‘thank you’s’ that we get from some of the parents," said Sumner.

Since he put that flashing light on his car, he has seen a 20 percent drop in the number of people speeding. However, he says this is still a problem, and he's worried a child may get hurt.

Sumner's hope is for a JSO or Community Service Officer to patrol the area during drop off and dismissal hours. But he says the real solution comes down to driver responsibility.

"My message to the drivers that go through here- I would just say, go through here like your kids go to this school," said Sumner.

According to Sumner, he has reached out to agencies including JSO and FHP for help, but hasn't seen any action. 

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