Be cautious around picket areas

It may sound strange to urge motorists to exercise extreme caution in school zones when children are not present, but such a warning now seems merited.

Public schools throughout West Virginia were closed Thursday-Friday this week because of a walkout organized by the state’s two teachers’ unions. Groups of teachers were along sidewalks picketing to draw attention to their concerns.

There already has been at least one near collision between two vehicles at one location in the state, and at another school some motorists stopped on the highway near the pickets, creating the potential for an accident.

Why is this situation more hazardous than any school day with children present? For two reasons: First, many motorists are slowing down, sometimes stopping, out of curiosity about the pickets or to express support — and in some cases, perhaps, opposition to them. Second, the rainy weather is a factor.

Picketing teachers certainly want those passing by to see their signs. Obviously, they want drivers to be careful, too.

So please, do so.

It appears as if the picketing will continue next week. Although initial word, locally, had been that school will resume on Monday, thus eliminating the picketing, word from state leaders Friday stated the walkout would continue into next week.

Should it, we ask for continued caution from passing motorists and those teachers involved. And yes, as we are aware, more rain is forecast. So be careful.