Donald Palma Jr., Chief of Police
99 Pleasant Street
Groton MA 01450
Chief James Dow
23 Pleasant Street
PO Box 154
Dunstable, MA 01827
For Immediate Release
Friday, Aug. 18, 2017
Contact: John Guilfoil
Groton and Dunstable Police Departments Offer Back To School Safety Tips
GROTON — With the start of a new school year just around the corner, Dunstable Police Chief James W. Dow and Groton Police Chief Donald L. Palma, Jr. wish to offer several important safety tips to their communities.
Students in the Groton-Dunstable Regional School District start the new school year on the following dates:
- Grades 1-12: Wednesday, Aug. 30
- Kindergarten: Thursday, Aug. 31
- Pre-Kindergarten: Friday, Sept. 1
“The first day of school is always an exciting and busy time,” Chief Palma said. “As families prepare to return to school, we ask everyone to think safety first. I’d like to remind those driving near schools to be cautious of pedestrians, and that students maintain awareness of their surroundings.”
Commuters are encouraged to adjust their schedules to accomodate bus stops and be hypervigilant for children along the roads.
With students often on their phones texting, browsing the internet or playing games, the Groton and Dunstable Police Departments urge parents talk to their children about following these safety tips provided by the National Safety Council (NSC) when headed to and from school:
- Do not walk and text. If you need to respond to a text, move out of the way of others and stop on the sidewalk.
- Be fully attentive while crossing the street.
- Look left, right, then left again before crossing the street.
- Cross only at crosswalks.
“We want to be sure that everyone stays safe on the first day, and every day travelering to work and driving near schools,” Chief Dow said. “It is important for drivers to remember that school zones that have been quiet all summer will once again be vibrant and active, meaning they will need to be cognizant of children and increased traffic in those areas.”
Drivers should be fully attentive and should NEVER text and drive. Additionally, the NSC reminds operators that:
- Stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk.
- Always stop for a crossing guard.
- Take extra care to look out for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks, and in all residential areas
- Do not honk or rev your engine to scare a pedestrian, even if you have the right of way
- Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians
To best ensure that children who travel to school by bus get there safely, Groton and Dunstable Police advise that students follow these tips from the NSC:
Getting on the bus:
- When waiting for the bus, stay away from traffic and avoid roughhousing or other behavior that can lead to carelessness.
- Line up away from the street as the bus approaches.
- Wait until the bus has stopped and the doors open before approaching.
- Behavior on the bus:
- If available, always wear your seat belt.
- Don’t put your head, arms or hands out the window.
- Wait for the bus to stop completely before getting up from your seat.
Getting off the bus:
- If you have to cross in front of the bus, walk at least 10 feet ahead until you can see the driver. Make sure the driver can see you too.
- Wait for a signal from the driver before crossing. When the driver signals, look left, right, then left again. Walk across the road and keep an eye out for sudden traffic changes.
- If your vision is blocked, move to an area where you can see other drivers and they can see you.