As more and more school districts and private schools return to class this week and in the coming weeks, we ask that you be extra cautious on the roads. Watch for students on foot, in buses and teenage drivers. Drivers must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and stop for buses loading and unloading children.
We will be conducting extra traffic enforcement in school zones to help these students stay safe. We also have received a grant to enforce seat belt usage among teen drivers, so you may see additional police presence around high schools for those purposes, as well.
And this school year marks the first time City Ordinance 120180 has been in place regarding compulsory school attendance. It went into effect yesterday, in fact. Police officers and school district personnel have conducted truancy sweeps in the past, but there were few repercussions. This ordinance allows penalties against parents of truant children ranging from a warning to community service to a $500 fine. Truancy leads to increased crime – everything from burglaries to vandalism – and we hope this will now be less of an issue.
A new school year isn’t all about enforcement, however. To help those who may not have the tools necessary for academic success, our Records Unit is helping several students with their fourth annual school supply drive. The Police Athletic League partnered with the Upper Room Inc. throughout the summer to bring dozens of students up to grade level in reading.
Many police department members are sending their own children back to school now and in the coming weeks, and we all are hoping for a great year.
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