Mayor’s Message: Back-to-school safety

By Mayor David Harrington

It’s August and that means school is back! If school is back, traffic is back. I have five kids ranging in age from 15 to 30. I have driven my fair share of kids to elementary, middle and high school. One constant through all this time is not baseball, it’s parents driving crazy when taking their kids to school. The start of the school year is always the busiest and most crowded. The mix of new parents with the seasoned veterans creates an environment of both humor and frustration. So, what to do?

First and foremost, drive safely, obey the traffic laws and follow the ingress and egress patterns at your school. Sheriff’s Deputies will be present in the areas around the schools to make sure all the students are safe. They are there for a singular purpose and that is to keep you and your children safe. If you want to avoid an unpleasant interaction with law enforcement, then follow my advice: leave early, follow the rules of the road and be courteous.

Once you enter the school, the temptation will be to get out of your car and walk your child to his or her classroom. If you want to walk your child to his or her classroom, park off-site so you are not creating a traffic jam by blocking every single car behind you. I get it. I wanted to walk my kids to their classrooms, film them as they interact with their new classmates for the first time. It’s a big deal. But not every day. Trust me, the middle of the year is more fun than the first day because you will get to see them doing stuff with their new friends.

High school is unique with the mixture of new high schoolers being driven to school by their parents, kids who just got their driver license now driving themselves to school and parents who still drive their kids right to the front steps of the school. What could possibly go wrong? Patience is the order of the day, especially at the beginning of the year. Our high school has a pretty straight forward drop loop; however, the street leading to it is narrow and gets crowded. Leave early, drive safely and follow the drop process. The lines go down as the school year progresses and people get used to the process. As for inclement weather, just know every time it rains, it creates a “first day of school” type of traffic situation so plan accordingly.

I would like to suggest one possible alternative to driving. A good way to avoid the traffic and frustration is to walk. If it is at all possible, look for opportunities to walk with your child to school. One does not need to drive all the way to the front of the school, drive to within walking distance, park and then walk the rest of the way.

The new school year is soon upon us. Let’s drive safely, with patience and courtesy for others, obey the traffic laws, follow the drop-off rules at your school and keep your kids safe. It sounds simple yet every year is the same. Good luck and be safe.

Posted in News, Top-Stories.