School safety 101: Slow down

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Passing a stopped school bus is nothing short of reckless, and can result in tragedy. It’s hard to see around a bus to know if a child is crossing the street in front of it. Police note that more than half of the pedestrian fatalities in school bus-related crashes are children between ages 5 and 7. Kids are thinking about getting to school, but may not be thinking about getting there safely.

Drivers who are convicted of passing stopped school buses can be penalized with up to five points on their licenses, fines of up to $400 or up to 30 days in jail. Remember, when you see a bus flash its yellow lights, that isn’t an invitation to pass it before they turn red. Rather, you should slow down and prepare to stop.

Parents should instruct their children that when they’re waiting for a bus, they should stand 10 feet back from the edge of the road, and to cross the street only in front of the bus, from a spot where they can see the bus driver and the driver can see them.

This year, many school districts are implementing new security procedures in the wake of recent tragedies, most notably the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut last December. While an event of this magnitude is rare, it is important for our school districts to remain vigilant to keep students and staff members safe.

We urge school leaders to continue to look at ways to improve safety and security, while being mindful that our schools should not feel like prisons, either. Visitors will need to have a little extra patience, and understand that while extra security procedures may feel like a burden, they are necessary for the well-being of our youngest citizens.

Students are facing enough pressure in school, with more difficult standards and testing. Let’s do our part to make it a little easier for them by keeping them safe.

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