Chief Joseph O’Connor
219 Walden Street
P.O. Box 519
Concord, MA 01742
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Contact: Jessica Sacco
Email: [email protected]
Concord Police Recommend Back to School Safety Tips
CONCORD – Another academic year is right around the corner! Chief Joseph O’Connor and the Concord Police Department would like to offer several back to school safety tips for parents and guardians prior to the start of classes.
Students at Concord-Carlisle Regional High School will start on Aug. 31. Kindergartners through eighth grade will return to the Concord Public Schools on Sept. 1.
Chief O’Connor suggests that parents follow safety procedures outlined by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) to prevent accidents this school season.
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. To help students stay safe, parents should:
• 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.
The fine for illegally passing a school bus is a maximum of $200, and repeat offenders may have their licenses suspended. Concord Police will be on patrol looking for drivers who follow school buses too closely or illegally pass the vehicles.
“While we want to do everything we can to help students board and exit the school bus safely and cross the street without issue, we also need drivers to be extra cautious while in a school zone or in the vicinity of a school bus,” Chief O’Connor said. “Please obey the rules of the road.”
Additionally, before sending your child off to school in the morning, Concord 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. 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