BACK TO SCHOOL BASICS

This month, more than a quarter million students will be returning to school in Broward County. Your child’s safety is our number one priority. I encourage you to take a few moments to think about and review back-to-school safety with your child.

If your child walks to school, make sure there are sidewalks and crossing guards along the way. If you are not able to walk with your child, remember there is safety in numbers so have your child walk with siblings or other neighborhood children. Being hit by a car is by far the greatest threat to any child walking to school. Make sure your kids stay on the sidewalk and only cross at crosswalks. Remember to remind you children to never, ever stop to talk to strangers on the way to and from school and, most importantly, never to get into any vehicle with a stranger. These could potentially be life threatening situations.

Children peddling to school on bicycles must wear bike helmets – it’s the law. Helmets are the single most effective devices for cyclists, greatly reducing the risk of death or critical injury. Your children should ride their bicycles on the right side of the road and obey stop signs and traffic signals.

Children who ride the bus should never misbehave. And remember, no bullying. It’s important for children to remain seated at all times, keep hands and feet inside the vehicle and never throw anything inside or outside of the bus. When exiting the bus, children should always cross in front of the bus – never from behind.

Drivers need to remember that Florida law prohibits passing, in either direction, a school bus that is stopped with its flashing lights activated. Drivers must also remember to slow down in school zones. Driving slowly and carefully through school zones sharply reduces the risk of a tragic accident. Anyone caught passing a stopped school bus or speeding in a school zone can expect to get a costly fine – the Broward Sheriff’s Office simply will not tolerate violations that could harm a child.

Most schools in Broward County have a school resource officer or deputy. If your child is experiencing trouble with others or feels they are being bullied, please contact the school’s administrative office and ask to speak to the officer or deputy.

By keeping safety in mind, we can work together to make the 2008-2009 school year a safe and successful.

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