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Palm Coast Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015 3 years ago

IN BRIEF: Sheriff's Office issues back-to-school safety tips

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Deputies will be monitoring school zones and nearby areas as school starts.

The following is a news release from the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office:

Students head back to school on Monday, Aug., 24, and Sheriff’s deputies will be monitoring many school zones and associated traffic corridors during the first few weeks to keep students safe and remind drivers to slow down in school zones.

Drivers beware: Citation amounts can vary from $116 for a non-moving violation to $166 for a moving violation. Speeding fines start at $156 and can exceed $606 for speeding through a school zone. Failing to stop for a school bus will cost $271, and passing a school bus is $371.

Citation amounts can vary from $116 for a non-moving violation to $166 for a moving violation. Speeding fines start at $156 and can exceed $606 for speeding through a school zone. Failing to stop for a school bus will cost $271, and passing a school bus is $371.

This year, the Florida Sheriff’s Task Force is launching Operation Safe Schools to protect Florida’s youth and focus on safety in school zones. Sheriff’s offices statewide will be asked to report the number of warnings, citations and even arrests from traffic infractions in area school zones, said Sgt. David Williams, traffic supervisor for the FCSO.

The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office urges motorists, parents/guardians and children to follow these safety tips:

1. Leave for school a few minutes early to avoid the rush to school.
2. Watch out for children in school zones and streets close to schools.
3. Pay close attention to school buses. Remember, when a school bus stops and turns on its flashing lights and extends it signs, you must also stop unless there is an unpaved median of at least five feet, a raised median, or a physical barrier separating your vehicle from the stopped school bus.
4. Ensure everyone in your vehicle is properly secured in either an approved car seat or safety belt.
5. Always slow down through school zones. Pay close attention to the crossing guards at those intersections. Some crossing times may vary.
6. Children should always be instructed to catch the eye and attention of the bus driver when walking in front of the school bus. A good rule to follow: Be at least 10 feet in front of the bus when crossing.

Deputies also offer these suggestions to help parents and guardians keep kids safe this school:

1. Establish one or more safe routes for your child to take to the bus stop/school. Instruct your child not to use short cuts unless you know the route is safe.
2. Teach your child to always use the cross walks and obey all traffic signals.
3. If possible, arrange for a group to walk with your child to school.
4. Teach your child to be aware of their surroundings at all times. If they feel threatened or unsafe in any way, they should proceed to a safe place immediately.
5. Develop a secret password for you to use with your children in the event of an emergency where you cannot pick them up from school or another location. This password should never be shared with anyone other than you and your child.
6. Tell your child to never speak to a stranger. If a stranger asks your child a question, your child should be instructed to say in a loud voice “I cannot talk to you” and immediately find a trusted adult, school official, crossing guard, or law enforcement officer.
7. Tell your child that anyone can be a stranger. Strangers are not always dressed in dark or dirty clothing. Strangers are anyone they do not know.
8. Instruct your child to never get into a stranger’s car, or to follow them anywhere. If a stranger tries to take your child somewhere, instruct your child to yell loudly for help and run to a safe place and immediately contact a trusted adult and law enforcement officer.
9. Remind children to stay in well-lit areas and to walk in the middle of the sidewalk.
10. Make sure your children know to tell a trusted adult or teacher if they see a stranger in or around their school.
11. Immediately report all suspicious activity to 911.
12. Everyone is urged to learn who is living near them. Visit www.fdle.state.fl.us to view
information on every sexual offender and predator in Flagler County. Your search can be refined to your ZIP code area, or even a five-mile radius of your home.

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