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Editorial: Another school year, keep safety in mind

In early September 2012, this headline ran across the front page of the Journal: Young bus crash victim better

In that unfortunate accident, a 12-year-old seventh-grade boy was hit and run over after school at the intersection of Main Street and Cascade Avenue. The school driver involved, who had a green light, called 911. River Falls Ambulance rushed the boy to Regions Hospital in St. Paul. There he eventually recovered fully from injuries.

The River Falls School District and St. Bridget School resume classes Tuesday, Sept. 3. It’s time to take a look at routines and procedures so everyone can enjoy a safe year of school.

River Falls district officials are expecting student numbers well over the 3,000 mark as classes resume. The obvious change for students and parents is a return to the school routine that includes classes, transportation to school, homework, after-school activities and more.

Parents and students are usually able to make the readjustment quickly. The lives of teachers also change dramatically. Most have enjoyed a three-month hiatus. Now they face the challenge of starting a new year and educating a new group of students.

For those not involved in school activities, the biggest change will be the transportation of students in the morning and afternoon. Drivers will have to be especially alert as young people are moving around on foot or in buses both before and after school. Also be alert for student safety patrols at intersections near the elementary schools and St. Bridget’s.

A reminder to drivers: If a school bus has red lights flashing, traffic must come to a stop — that means traffic in BOTH directions. Flashing amber lights do not require a stop, but it is still important to proceed with caution when that situation arises.

Remember, however, not all students are bused. Many walk to school or ride bikes. Students must take it upon themselves to follow good safety procedures, but it is up to all drivers to take extra care when students are going to and from school — always expect the unexpected!

We look forward to another productive school year and send best wishes to our local students, staff and teachers.