Court orders jaywalking students to visit funeral home

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FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. - A juvenile court’s unusual punishment for some Forsyth County students who kept jaywalking has some people talking.

The intersection of Old Atlanta and Nichols roads is jammed with cars. The highway is adjacent to Lambert High School. There's a crosswalk about 50 yards up the street, but kids cut through this path and jaywalk across the five-lane road as a shortcut to get to a subdivision across the street.

“In the afternoons, traffic picks up and it’s not safe for the kids to be crossing,” said Forsyth County Sheriff Sgt. Rob Heagerty.

He says school resource officers and sheriff’s deputies warned kids for more than a month not to jaywalk. If they continued, he says, they were told they'd get a citation. The jaywalking didn’t stop. The county juvenile court now has ordered the kids to pay a fine, visit a funeral home and write their own obituary for their parents, in hopes of letting the risks sink in.

“They think they are invincible, and they don’t realize the speed of the cars coming,” said Heagerty.

The staff of a funeral home is working with the juvenile court.

“Think we have 17 that are coming through that are jaywalkers,” said Rick Wiggins, of McDonald and Sons Funeral Home.

Channel 2's Diana Davis talked to one of the children's parents. He wouldn't go on camera, but off camera he told her he does not think there were enough warnings. He says the school should have had an assembly.

The Sheriff’s Office says the court-ordered funeral home trip is not intended as harassment.

“It just got to the point where citations were the only route we could go,” said Heagerty.

The crosswalk does have all the bells and whistles, including a button to make it easier for kids to cross, but the parent Davis talked to says this crosswalk alone isn't enough. He says there should be more down the road; not only for the high school, but the elementary school.