Here are some tips to avoid the chaos of picking up the kids after school.

School zone signs for cars and busesRAPID CITY, SD– With almost two months left in the school year, School Resource Officer Abraham Wheeler of the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office shared some tips for practicing safety in the school zone.

Just like dropping the kids off at school, picking up the kids can be a hassle for parents in the morning. Officer Wheeler says watching kids run in front of cars and watching their speed are some of the best things he can do.

“Keep in mind that children are excited to leave school, they are left without school,” he said. “They run between the buses, between the cars. So make sure to look for the kids jumping from anywhere. Go slowly through the parking lot. We try to get the children into the crosswalk. But like I said, the kids are very excited. They just come out of everywhere.”

The decrease in daylight hours is also an important factor to take into account. Especially with regards to children walking to and from school.

Deputy Wheeler explains that as the days get shorter. Children tend to walk or bike closer to roads and avoid walking nearby trails on their way home.

“If kids are biking or walking, try to get reflective gear or bright clothing,” he said. “Even a backpack: bright light in his backpack. Little strobe lights that you can put in there. Anything to make your child visible to the public. The more the better, really.”

Since the start of the year, she has seen an improvement in the way parents at schools like Douglas Middle School handle the after-school rush. However, arriving early can help parents have a better chance of finding a safe place to wait.

“Give yourself plenty of time. The sooner you get here, the better your chances of getting a parking spot, a safe spot in the parking lot for your child,” she explained. “And you won’t be running to school. The sooner the better.”

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