Back to School With CCSO!
School is back in session. With many schools within a short walking and biking distance for many students, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office is asking parents and residents to review the following safety tips:
WALKING TO AND FROM SCHOOL
* Plan a walking route to school or the bus stop. Choose the most direct way with the fewest street crossings and, if possible, with intersections that have crossing guards.
* Walk the route with your child before school starts. Tell him or her to stay away from parks, vacant lots, fields and other places where there aren’t many people around.
* Teach your child to cross at designated crosswalks at intersections.
* Mind all traffic signals and/or the crossing guard. Never cross the street against a light, even if traffic is not visible.
* Wear reflective material; it makes you more visible to street traffic.
* Be sure your child walks to and from school with a sibling, friend or neighbor.
* Teach your child never to talk to strangers or accept rides or gifts from strangers.
* Tell your child that if anyone follows them on foot to get away from him or her as quickly as possible. If anyone follows them in a vehicle, they should turn around, go in the opposite direction, and try to quickly get to a spot where a trusted adult may help them. Advise them to be sure to tell you or another trusted adult what happened.
* Teach your child that if a stranger tries to take them away, they should quickly get away and yell, “This person is trying to take me away,” or “This person is not my father/mother/guardian.”
* Teach your child that if a stranger tries to grab them, they must make a scene and make every effort to get away by kicking, punching, screaming, and resisting.
SAFETY AROUND THE SCHOOL BUS
* Make sure your child knows their bus number. This will reduce your child’s stress and avoid confusion on which bus to ride.
* Make sure your child knows their telephone number and address.
* Parents/guardians should visit the bus stop with their child.
* Walk the route to and from the bus stop with your child, pointing out landmarks and safe places to go if they are being followed or bothered by a stranger. The safe places can be used if your child needs help.
* Teach your child what to do if the bus does not arrive on time.
* Teach your child to stay with a group while waiting at the bus stop.
* If an adult approaches your child for help or directions, remind them that adults should not ask children for help; they should ask another adult.
* If your child rides a bike to school, instruct him or her to always travel with a friend.
* Ride in well-lit areas and never take shortcuts.
* Always wear a helmet while riding. Helmets should fit properly and the straps should always be fastened.
* Wear bright colored clothes and place reflectors on the bike.
* Avoid wearing headphones because music can be distracting and cause you not to notice potential hazards around you.
* Teach your child that he or she is subject to the rules of traffic signs and signals, just as motorists. They should be alert to traffic signs and know what they mean.
*Whether or not you have a child attending school this academic year, safe driving is everyone’s responsibility!
*Allow for extra travel time in your morning and afternoon drives. Be aware and patient for the extra buses and cars on the roadway that may affect your usual routine.
*Always follow all rules of the road including, but not limited to: driving the posted speed limit, breaking for stopped school buses and making complete stops at stop signs.
SEE IT? SAY IT!
Always remember that nobody knows our neighborhoods better than the people who live in them. By being vigilant and always reporting unusual activity as it happens, citizens can partner with CCSO to maintain Collier County’s great quality of life.
Many times people hesitate to contact law enforcement when they spot something that doesn’t seem right, either brushing it off as insignificant or waiting until hours or even days later to call CCSO. Deputies want community members to remember that every piece of information is important.
If you witness any unusual activity involving kids on their way to school or reckless driving, do not hesitate to contact the CCSO’s non-emergency line at 239-252-9300 or 911 if you feel immediate assistance is necessary.
ABOVE: Photo by Connie Ledbetter/(CCSO)