Students return to school; tips to keep everyone safe

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – The first day back to school is a stressful time for both parents and children, but there are some steps people can take to reduce the stress and make things a little easier.

While kids will come back home with school work from their teachers, parents will soon be changing their routines. At the same time, teachers, school administrators and police departments will be altering their routines.

For teachers, they'll be making lesson plans and checking their students. Parents will be trying to send their kids off to school on time and make sure their homework is finished. School administrators will be making sure teachers and students perform their best. Police officers will be ensuring everyone is safe going to and from school each day.

"The Jonesboro Police Department along with other agencies around northeast Arkansas, we're going to increase the patrol numbers in all the school areas," said Sgt. Doug Forman with the Jonesboro Police Department.

Forman said extra police officers will provide security at school districts all throughout Jonesboro, especially for the next few weeks. He said most traffic congestion occurs in front of the Jonesboro High School campus in the afternoon.

"We usually try to keep a really heavy presence there, at least for the first couple of weeks to make sure all the motorists are working the one-ways right and the pickup areas right," said Forman. "Usually one of the biggest problems is that, it's not so much the parents that are coming here to drop their kids off, some of them do get a little lost but most of them have gone through meetings and they know the route and know how they're supposed to drop their children off. It's usually individuals who have used this route all throughout the summer that don't have children, that not suddenly the school has come back into session and they're still trying to take that short cut through town."

Forman said many parents and children are unsure where to go on the first day of school, especially if they're not familiar with the area. He said when that happens, pay attention to traffic officers and school employees.

"We encourage folks to make sure that right now they definitely keep their speed down in that 25 mile-an-hour school zone, limit, maybe even a little slower would be nice those first few days because it's really going to be congested," said Forman.

Forman also said police will be watching for speeders in school zones. A few years ago, Region 8 News did a story, which found several people driving nearly double the posted speed limit in school zones. Forman said motorists need to pay attention to their speed and other laws.

"Everyone needs to get back in the habit again of seeing the school buses out there," said Forman. "Whether you're on a five-lane road or a two-lane road, if you see a bus and it's stopped and it has its red flashing lights on, you have to stop. You cannot pass that bus in any way, form or fashion."

There are also things people can do to ease the amount of stress during the school year. Click here for more information.

"You'll see a lot of police officers out there. You're going to see a lot of blue and you definitely will see that in other cities as well. I know that Trumann is doing the same thing. Paragould, Brookland, Bay and all those school districts are going to be doing the same thing we're doing here," said Forman.

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