Safety lessons top priority with students
Although she enjoyed a fun-filled summer, including plenty of camping and time at the beach, Lacy Chisholm is probably not too upset those opportunities are winding down.
The five-year-old is excited about starting school.
A few days before beginning Grade Primary at École acadienne de Pomquet, she and her mother, Erin, chatted during a visit to the Antigonish County school.
“Reading,” she said, with a smile, when asked what she was looking forward to the most about starting classes.
With her pink lunch bag – one emblazoned with unicorns – and eye-catching multi-coloured back pack, Lacy added she is also looking forward to writing.
“She is very ready for school,” Erin said, adding her daughter was “pretty excited.”
For Lacy and thousands of other students across the Strait region returning to classes, one of the top priorities is safety.
“Children are going to be excited to see their friends, again, and it is going to busy on our roads and in the crosswalks,” Antigonish RCMP community policing officer Const. Macpherson said.
“It is imperative that drivers use a little extra caution. There is a responsibility on the pedestrians but we are asking the drivers to take a little extra caution.”
Macpherson reminded parents and guardians to talk with their children and “reinforce the safety aspect of crosswalks,” including obeying crossing guards that are stationed at some intersections.
He noted, over the past couple years, some crossing guards have experienced issues with drivers.
“The crossing guards are in control – please follow any direction they are giving. If they are motioning for a vehicle to stop, please stop,” Macpherson said.
He also touched on motorists’ responsibility, when it comes to driving speed.
“There are going to be extra patrols in school zones. There will be checkpoints and there will be some radar monitoring speed,” Macpherson said.
He reminded that the school zone speed limit in urban areas – towns and cities – is 30 km/h, while it is 50 km/h in rural areas.
“We are just, again, asking motorists to pay attention to their speed because our patrols will be increased and there will be very little discretion offered in the school zones,” Macpherson said.
Strait Regional Centre for Education (SRCE) officials said its transportation department, along with students, parents/ guardians, motorists, school bus drivers and teachers “share the responsibility for school bus safety.”
“Please slow down in school zones, pay extra attention to children walking to and from school and never pass a school bus when its red lights are flashing,” a SRCE back-to-school press release said.
Macpherson reiterated the importance of obeying those flashing red lights.
“It has gotten better, but there are still – every year – reports of people running the red lights on the school bus,” Macpherson said.
Noting there are “huge fines” for motorists who do so, he also stressed the toll if an accident occurs.
“We have had some close calls and we are asking everybody to take their time. Again, a few seconds is not going to make much of a difference, at the end of the day.
“Just take your time,” he added.
Macpherson talked about the “very important – and stressful – job” carried out by bus drivers.
“The rules on the bus don’t change; you take your seat and you stay seated – there shouldn’t be any horseplay on the bus. If they bus driver gives direction, it should be followed, without question,” he said.
“At the end of the day, it is all for the safety of the children, following those rules,” he added.
For more information on school bus safety, the SRCE provides a brochure – School Bus Safety: A Guide for Students and Parents/guardians – which is available in the document depot section of the SRCE’S website – srce.ca.
For more information on school zone safety, visit the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal website at https://novascotia.ca/ tran/.