Please help keep our children safe

Posted 8/12/22

As we finish up our first week of school for the 2022/2023 year, we remind the community to err on the side of caution when it comes to school buses, bus stops and children walking …

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Please help keep our children safe

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Many individuals work behind the scenes to help North Elementary School to be the best it can be. It starts with having amazing crossing guards who ensure that our students get to school safely. Thank you, Mr. Darrell.
Many individuals work behind the scenes to help North Elementary School to be the best it can be. It starts with having amazing crossing guards who …
OKEECHOBEE — As we start the 2022/2023 school year, we remind the community to err on the side of caution when it comes to school buses, bus stops and children walking to school. The community is thankful there have been no accidents involving school buses or bus stops in Okeechobee County.

However, in nearby Palm Beach County which also started school on Aug. 10, there have been two school buses rear-ended already.

Early  morning on Aug. 10, a 16-year-old driver ran into the back of a school bus seriously injuring himself and his teenage passenger. No one on the bus was injured.

The second accident occurred as a BMW was speeding through a Wellington neighborhood Thursday afternoon and ran into the back of a school bus carrying five students. There were no reported injuries of the children or bus driver.

According to the National Safety Council’s website, school bus related crashes killed 54 people nationwide, two of them in Florida, in 2020. However, this number is believed to be lower than average due to the covid pandemic which closed schools. In 2019, 111 deaths and 13,000 injuries were reported.

Each year, Okeechobee City and County law enforcement and fire fighters do their part to raise awareness that traffic patterns are changing due to the school zones; Children are out standing or walking alongside dark roads in the morning. Fire trucks, ambulances and patrol cars with lights activated wait at school zones to remind drivers of the danger areas. They can only do so much though. The rest is up to you.

Sheriff Stephen said, “I would plead to our motoring public that we can all do a better job in being aware of our surroundings while driving. Phones, radios, kids, and many other distractions are traveling in our vehicles with us every day. Please focus on the road ahead and the other vehicles on the roadways with you.”

Prior to the first day of the new school year, the sheriff’s office Facebook page read, “Sheriff Noel E. Stephen reminds you to take a moment and look at this picture to be reminded that our most precious assets start school TODAY in Okeechobee County.

Remember to remind yourself to remain vigilant; please slow down and prepare for longer than regular drives and more frequent stops. Traffic may be heavy; expect to see buses, bicycles, and foot traffic in the mornings and afternoons.

You will definitely see us out and about enforcing traffic laws in your neighborhoods and at the schools, ensuring the safety of our children on foot, motorcycles, marked patrol vehicles, and unmarked.

Why? Because they are indeed worth it. Be safe, and Happy 2022/2023 school year!

OCSO, OCFR, OCPD

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