Police issue safety tips for parents, students as school begins

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Now that the official start of school is upon us, police would like to ask all citizens to review a couple safety tips to prepare for another start to a school year.

IF YOUR CHILDREN WALK TO SCHOOL

  • Make sure your children walk a prescribed route each day and reinforce the importance of not deviating from this route. If possible, try to arrange for your child to walk with a group of children if they are otherwise unaccompanied by an adult.
  • Dress children in clothing that is sufficiently visible to motorist such as light-colored clothing, reflective vests or backpacks that have attached lights or reflective material.
  • Take time to remind children about what to do if a stranger approaches them while walking to or from school.
  • Stress the importance of how to safely cross streets where a crossing guard is not present. Teach children to look carefully to the left, right and then left again if you have to cross the street.
  • Have your children put everything they carry in a backpack or school bag so that they don’t drop things on their way to school.

IF YOUR CHILDREN RIDE A BIKE TO SCHOOL

  • If your child rides a bike to school, ensure that they are wearing the proper safety equipment to include a helmet, light-colored clothing and proper reflective or lighting devices for their bike.
  • Review with them the rules of the road and the proper use of hand signals.

WHEN WAITING FOR AND RIDING THE SCHOOL BUS

  • Make sure your child stands at least 10 feet (5 giant steps) from the road while waiting for the school bus. The child will then be out of the way of traffic. Have younger children practice taking 5 giant steps to become familiar with 10 feet.
  • Ensure that children are not engaging in horseplay or other activities that may subject them to unnecessary hazards associated with vehicular traffic while waiting at bus stops.
  • Make sure that children know to wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before approaching it.
  • Be sure that your children can visually see the bus driver at all times before moving to board the bus.
  • Encourage your children to wear a lap/shoulder seat belt if one is provided on the bus.
  • Reinforce the rule that the school bus driver is in-charge when they are on the school bus. School bus drivers have a tremendous responsibility to ensure that their undivided attention is focused on delivering our children to and from school in the safest way possible. Unruly, noisy or children moving about on the bus only stands to create a distraction for the bus driver that ultimately takes away from their ability to safely and effectively focus on driving.
  • Warn children that if they drop something when getting on or off a bus that they should never pick it up. Instead, they should tell the bus driver and follow the driver’s instructions. If they bend over to pick up a dropped object, they might not be seen by the driver and could be hurt if the driver pulls away from the stop.

REMINDERS FOR MORNING AND LATE-AFTERNOON COMMUTERS

  • Be prepared for a longer commute due to the addition of school buses being out and about and increased vehicular traffic as a result of teenagers driving to school.
  • Expect the unexpected…watch for the possibility of children darting out into the street or children riding their bicycles especially during the dark hours of the morning.
  • Be patient and observe the law when approaching or following a school bus that activates its stop arm for loading and unloading of children.
  • Be very mindful of intersections where children are prone to gather for the bus or at designated bus stops.
  • Be mindful when traveling in or around areas where schools are located and the reduced speed limit. The typical speed in a school zone is 20-30 mph.

Officers are actively observing for potential violators each school morning and afternoon in order to provide the children of our community with the safest possible means to and from school. Motorists cited for either of these violations are required to make a mandatory appearance in court and if found guilty, can be fined up to $10,000.00 for the offense.

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