Leonard Campanello, Chief of Police
197 Main St.
Gloucester , MA 01930
For Immediate Release
Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Gloucester Police Recommend Back to School Safety Tips
GLOUCESTER — Prior to the start of school in less than two weeks, Police Chief Leonard Campanello and the Gloucester Police Department ask the community to review several safety procedures to ensure a smooth transition for all.
Those in grades one through twelve in the Gloucester Public Schools will return to class from Sept. 1-3. Kindergartners and Pre-K will start on Sept. 8.
“The beginning of a new academic year is always an exciting time for families,” Chief Campanello said. “We hope everyone’s first week of school is safe and relaxing.”
Chief Campanello recommends parents and guardians take a moment to review several 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. Children ages 4 to 7 are at the highest risk of injury. To remain 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.
Please remember, 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, Chief Campanello suggests 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-related 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