HURRICANE – School is back in session – or soon will be – for all students in Washington County. Wednesday, Sgt. Brandon Buell, of the Hurricane Police Department, spoke at Hurricane Elementary School regarding some key points of safety for the upcoming school year.
“It is very important for our kids to get to and from school as safely as they can,” Buell said.
Among tips he offered, Buell emphasized that kids need to stay on sidewalks, or stay as far away from traffic as possible in areas without sidewalks, when walking and riding their bicycles. It is also important for kids to be watchful of cars backing out of driveways, he said.
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“We have three crossing guards for each of the elementary schools,” Buell said. “They are trained and receive continuous training on an annual basis.”
Buell said there are designated areas that have been engineered and designed specifically for safe crossing. Kids will be asked to get off their bicycles, and when the crossing guard goes out and stops traffic, the guard will then go ahead and wave the kids through. Kids will be asked to walk, rather than ride, when crossing any streets.
Buell said the police department is also emphasizing that kids need to wear their helmets, and parents need to make sure they wear them.
“We have two school resource officers that take care of the high school on down to the elementary schools,” Buell said. “Their roles are to be a school officer to help the administration. Those officers help ensure the laws are enforced in the school and deal with safety issues in the school.”
Buell said school resource officers are encouraged to build relationships with the kids, so if children are facing any problems at school or at home, officers can be in a position to help.
“They are also there to educate,” Buell said. “Our school resource officers teach classes.”
Buell said school resource officers will also enforce traffic laws as people come into the areas around schools. Officers will look at safe routes to and from schools and monitor inside the schools to make sure they are secure from the inside and the outside.
“We encourage our patrol officers to be proactive around our schools – to watch for traffic violations, watching for people who are doing things that may be distracting to them while they are traveling in the school zone,” Buell said.
Buell added that patrol officers have routinely seen people texting and driving in the school zone.
“We also want to make sure we encourage the community to be an extra hand,” he said. “Slow down when you’re coming into the school zone. Be extra cautious about the kids who are out there.”
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