LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - With the new school year approaching, many are getting prepared by buying supplies and school clothes, but another item that should be on your list is school safety.
The Lawton Public Schools chief of police said there are several areas the public needs to be aware of with school starting, but specifically, obeying speed limits and bus etiquette.
Any time school starts, traffic will pick up, both pedestrian traffic and vehicle traffic. That congestion will be especially prevalent during the mornings and early afternoons when school gets out, which is why officials say drivers need to be especially alert in school zones.
“Some of the school zone times have changed because of school hour changes, so we need to be aware of that," said David Hornbeck, Chief of Police with the LPS Police Department. "If you’re familiar with one certain school zone, those yellow flashing lights being always on at a certain time and going off at a certain time, those may change in your district, so make sure you pay attention to the light and not what time of day it is.”
Another thing to be mindful of is buses- from both LPS and LATS. Drivers need to remember that it is against Oklahoma state law to pass school buses when they are stopped with flashing lights.
“The easiest thing that will happen is you get a ticket for it," said Chief Hornbeck. "The worst thing that’d happen is you hit one of these little kids. That’s something you’d have to live with the rest of your life, and I don’t think anybody’s prepared to do that. So, it’s always best just to stop.”
The Lawton Public Schools Police Department works closely with the Lawton Police Department to maintain school safety.
“We are making sure that their areas, their school zones are watched and are protected," said Sgt. Timothy Jenkins with the Lawton Police Department. "We want to make sure that the kids who are walking to school, riding their bikes to school, want to make sure that they do see us and see a presence, that way they feel comfortable where they’re walking, riding their bike, they feel comfortable going to school knowing that we are watching for them and watching out and looking for their safety and keeping their safety at hand.”
Sgt. Jenkins said during the school year, officers will be patrolling school zones more closely, so they ask that you make sure you are following the law to keep yourself, and the students safe.