School begins next week, so remember to use caution around buses, school zones

Published 5:40 pm Friday, August 4, 2017

T

he school supplies have been bought. The uniforms are ironed and ready to go. The school year is almost here.

Porter’s Chapel Academy students return to school Monday, the Vicksburg Catholic Schools open their doors for a new year Tuesday and students in the Vicksburg Warren School District start Thursday.

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With all these students returning to school, staying safe on the roads becomes paramount. Between buses picking up and dropping off students, cars driving through school zones and drop-off and pick-up at schools, staying safe requires vigilance and caution.

Under a law known as Nathan’s Law, motorists in Mississippi are required to stop at least 10 feet in front of and behind a school bus that is stopped for loading or unloading, when the red lights are flashing and the red stop arm is out.

“Be aware of the buses that are dropping off and picking up kids,” Vicksburg Warren School District Safety Resource Department head Dewayne Sims said. “Don’t be distracted such as texting and driving. Don’t be a distracted driver during the school year.”

A potential safety hazard is when students are crossing the street to load the bus or after exiting. VWSD transportation director Robert Bass said that when students have to cross the road, it is the bus driver who needs to be in charge. Not parents.

“Have the kids look at the driver and his instruction to cross the street if they need to,” VWSD transportation director Robert Bass said. “Do not let the parents tell them to cross for safety reasons. The drivers should train their students to watch for their signal. Do not cross the street before they are given a signal by the bus driver.”

Parents, students and even other drivers on the road must work together to make sure that everyone is safe throughout the school year.

Safety does not end when kids enter the school, or leave at the end of the day with their parents. Being proactive is a necessity when making sure every student is safe.

During the school day, all cars must be logged in at the two high schools and visitors must surrender their driver’s license and/or car keys when checking in at schools throughout the district.

“We want to continue to encourage, if you know something say something,” Sims said. “If you see something, say something. If you have something going on in the community, make sure we know in advance. They can contact the school directly or they can contact the school resource officers.”