As local schools are starting up, law enforcement is making sure students get there safely. (WRDW-TV / Aug. 8, 2011)
News 12 This Morning / Monday, Aug. 8, 2011
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Two of the biggest counties in our area are back in school. Richmond and Columbia counties as well as McCormick, Screven and Glascock have students back in class Monday.
Cpl. Barry Morrison, of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office, said the first day of school is always hectic.
"Parents are going to school with kids for the very first time," he said. "There is going to be a lot of traffic."
This year Morrison is overseeing school crossing safety. He says at the start of the school year more than 70 crossing guards will be stationed throughout Richmond County to get your child across safely.
Morrison said it can be unsafe for students going to schools located in busy neighborhoods.
"We did have a young man get hit by a car," he said. "You have to be aware kids will be walking in and around neighborhoods sometimes on sidewalks, sometimes there is no sidewalk."
Michael Missey, a school resource officer, says he wants kids to stay alert and be aware of their surroundings.
Some problem areas school safety inspectors have noticed are the crosswalks near T.W. Josey High School. The problem is they are not being used much because students like to cross directly from a convenience store.
This can be dangerous, Morrison said, because you don't want to cross in the middle of the highway or road.
"Don't just take your own initiative and cross where ever you want to cross," he said.
He said drivers need to slow down for students in the Meadowbrook neighborhood.
"Traffic is very heavy," Morrison said. "You always have people in a hurry, people that want to ride up central lanes and get around stopped buses."
School safety officers say depending on how young your children are, you may want to walk with them or send them with a group of older students. Practice safe routes and always show them the most direct well-lit path to school.
"If the parents could actually walk the route with them or show them how to get to them most direct route," Missey said.
Officers will be monitoring intersections throughout the first full week of school. Morrison says they could end up adding on 15 more crossing guards in certain neighborhoods.
If you see something on a route to school you are not comfortable with, call Morrison at (706) 821-1527.