Be careful when dropping off children at school, do not unbuckle children before stopping

OUACHITA PARISH, La. (KNOE) – ArkLaMiss students are getting ready to head back to school and that means more traffic in school zones. There are a few tips to remember as families begin to return. CJ Beck, Captain of the West Monroe Police Department, says people need to be mindful of their movements.

“That’s the way it is. There are more people on the roads. They have to be aware of traffic, which is going to cause delays. So they have to spend more time getting ready to get to places and not be in a rush,” Beck said. .

Plus, there are more kids to watch out for as people head to and from work. As you travel, keep an eye out for areas where you travel through school zones and add some time to ensure you get there safely.

“Children are different shapes and sizes, different heights. So one child may be seen, the other child may not be seen. It’s important to know,” explains Beck.

People need to check their cars and make sure all their mirrors are adjusted before they head out.

Beck also warns of a trend he’s seen with parents at school drop-off locations where serious injuries could occur.

“I can’t tell you how many times we see parents that will unbuckle their kids before they come to a complete stop because they are ready to unload their kids. That’s not safe,” Beck said. “School zones, especially elementary zones, are congested, and even though they go at a slow pace, it doesn’t take much for a child to get hurt.”

Orlando Freemont, Supervisor of Safety and Security for the Ouachita School District says drop-off points can be dangerous, especially for children.

“When you talk about drop off and pick up, that’s the beginning and end of the school day, and even how you drop off and pick up. Security is definitely important,” says Freemont.

He also explains that the students are moving quickly and may not be seen in time.

“Students are transitioning from cars into the building and you want to make sure you know they may be crossing so you don’t need to be on any of your devices or you don’t need to be distracted by coffee or anything like that, you have to pay close attention.” Freemont said.

Beck also warns that there are penalties including heavy fines if you are caught breaking the law in school zones.

“Passing a school bus, for example, will result in a driver’s license suspension. It is a mandatory court appearance. It’s a hefty fine, fines double, sometimes triple, depending on speed within a school zone. So they have to keep in mind that we’re going to be there and force them to speed up,” Beck said.

So be sure to drive safely as ArkLaMiss families head back to school.

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