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home : schools : othello school district May 24, 2016

8/20/2013 4:46:00 PM
Go back to school safely
Erik Pague

Before you know it, summer will be over and Othello students will head back to school.
School Resource Officer Scot LaRose provides law enforcement and security for all Othello schools and offered a few pointers for students, their parents and drivers to follow to make sure everyone is safe and responsible once classes start again Aug. 22.
One of the main safety issues facing students is knowing what to do when interacting with vehicle traffic on their way to and from school, LaRose said.
Some general advice includes staying on sidewalks while walking in groups, paying close attention to what crossing guards are saying and making sure to be careful on crosswalks while attempting to make eye contact with drivers as they approach.
"Make sure you look for cars and try to make eye contact to make sure the driver actually sees you before you step out," LaRose said.
Crossing guards will be at all the elementary schools once again this year.
Many students choose to bike or skateboard to school. LaRose recommends cyclists ensure they're obeying the same traffic laws as cars and their drivers and wear a helmet. He said it's a good idea for younger bikers to stay on sidewalks until they are old enough to be safe riding on the streets.
Vehicle drivers play a big role in ensuring safety also, LaRose said. A general rule of thumb for drivers is to reduce your speed to 20 mph while moving through school zones in the mornings and afternoons when school gets out. He said to always be ready to hit your brakes and don't always count on kids following every rule.
"Just slow down ... because most of them are going to step out in front of you," he said.
LaRose said drivers should pay extra attention while driving through the four-way stop and surrounding areas at Seventh Avenue and Scooteny Street. He also warned that tickets are costlier when officers cite drivers in school zones.
Also, drivers trying to drop their children off at bus loops, especially the one at McFarland Middle School, are urged to let their kids out quickly and don't stop for an extended amount of time. LaRose said it creates dangerous situations when a dozen cars are stopped in the bus lanes and drivers should keep moving and find a different parking spot if there happens to be a traffic jam.
"Once you get in the bus loop or the drop off loop, let your kids out and go because traffic gets backed up," he said.
LaRose said a new law coming in effect will require schools to practice more fire and lockdown drills, so students need to be prepared for those. He said students should follow their teachers' instructions and just stay calm during all emergency situations, even drills.
Finally, LaRose asks students and teachers to come to him if they have any questions relating to school safety or what he can help with in his role as the SRO.

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