Donald C. Cudmore, Chief of Police
47 Central Street
Georgetown, MA 01833
For Immediate Release
Monday, Aug. 10, 2015
Georgetown Police Department Urges Back to School Safety
GEORGETOWN — As the summer vacation draws to a close, Police Chief Donald C. Cudmore and the Georgetown Police Department are reminding the community of several safety practices when transitioning into the new school year.
The new school year begins Sept. 1 for Grades 1-12 and Sept. 2 for Kindergartners.
“The new school year is an exciting time for everyone, and we just want to make sure that all of Georgetown’s young people start the year off with safety in mind,” Chief Cudmore said. “We urge everyone to take note of these vital safety tips.”
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) reports that approximately 400,000 students in the state are transported to school by buses every year. While school bus travel is generally very safe, the majority of related injuries occur when boarding or exiting a bus because of passing traffic or due to walking in one of the bus driver’s blind spots. Children ages 4 to 7 are at the highest risk of injury.
Chief Cudmore recommends parents follow safety procedures outlined by DPH to prevent accidents this school season.
- Educate children on safe bus riding and walking behaviors when getting on and off the bus.
- Teach young children to take five giant steps (10 feet) in front of the bus and to wait for the driver’s signal before crossing.
- Develop appropriate bus pick-up/drop-off policies.
- Closely supervise children under age 10 who must cross the street after exiting the bus.
“Georgetown prides itself on pedestrian safety, and we do not take lightly to motorists who fail to stop for the flashing red lights of a school bus,” Chief Cudmore said. “Stop and wait for the children to board or exit the bus, or to cross the street safely. Do not proceed until the bus driver has turned off the red lights and has begin moving again.”
The fine for illegally passing a school bus is a maximum of $200, and repeat offenders may have their licenses suspended.
Additionally, before sending your child off to school in the morning, Georgetown Police recommend checking backpacks to make sure they are a tolerable weight. The American Chiropractic Association advises that backpacks should weigh no more than 10 percent of a student’s body weight, as heavy pressure can negatively affect the skeletal and muscular development in children.
If walking to school, or when exiting the bus, parents and guardians should educate students about safely crossing the street. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health reports that pedestrian injuries are the second leading cause of unintentional injury death among school-aged children 5 to 18 years old.
Most injuries to children in kindergarten through third grade occur when they run into the street mid-block, while older students are most often hurt at intersections. To prevent potential tragedies, children should
- Be aware of pedestrian hazards and how to avoid them
- Know traffic signs and signals, and safe walking zones
- Wait for the “walk” signal at a crosswalk, or for a crossing guard to signal the OK to proceed into the street
Parents and guardians should also remind their children about responsible behavior while on school playgrounds. The National Safety Council reports that unsafe playgrounds are the leading cause of injury to children between ages 5 to 14 and that 40 percent occur due to inadequate adult supervision. Children should:
- Not push or shove each other while on jungle gyms, swings, seesaws and other equipment.
- Leave bags somewhere off the playground so that no one trips over them.
- Avoid clothes with drawstrings or other pieces that could get caught on playground equipment.