Rick Smith, Chief of Police
1 Union St.
Wakefield, MA 01880
For Immediate Release
Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Wakefield Police Offer School Safety Tips
WAKEFIELD – As the new academic year approaches, Chief Rick Smith and the Wakefield Police Department ask that parents and guardians review several safety procedures before sending their children off to school next month.
The first day of school for students in grades one through twelve in the Wakefield Public Schools District is Sept. 8. Kindergarten begins Sept. 9.
“We want the start of the school year to be an exciting time for students and a relaxing experience for families,” Chief Smith said. “Please follow these guidelines to ensure children, especially those starting in the district for the first time, are safe at all times.”
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.
Police recommend that 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.
• Before crossing the street, teach young children to take five giant steps (10 feet) in front of the bus and to wait for the driver’s signal before walking.
• Develop appropriate bus pick-up/drop-off policies.
• Closely supervise children under age 10 who must cross the street after exiting the bus.
The fine for illegally passing a school bus is a maximum of $200, and repeat offenders may have their licenses suspended.
If walking to school, or when exiting the bus, parents and guardians should educate students about safely crossing the street. DPH 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