Safety lessons top pri­or­ity with stu­dents

The Casket - - NAVIGATE ATLANTIC - COREY LE­BLANC coreyle­blanc@the­cas­

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.”

Safety first

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 –

For more in­for­ma­tion on school zone safety, visit the Nova Sco­tia De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion and In­fra­struc­ture Re­newal web­site at https://no­vas­co­ tran/.

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