ARLINGTON, Va. – More travelers will soon utilize our roadways as students begin walking, bicycling, and riding the bus to school when classes resume on Tuesday, September 3, 2019. To keep students safe during their commute, the Arlington County Police Department will conduct a high-visibility traffic enforcement campaign in and around school zones and bus stops.
Variable message boards will be placed along roadways in Arlington County to raise awareness of the start of the school year and to remind motorists to slow down, avoid distractions and watch for students. Our students depend on all of us to keep them safe. With a little awareness and prevention, all travelers can arrive at their destinations in a timely and safe manner. Let’s be safe out there!
Traffic Safety Tips
Drivers are reminded to:
- Obey speed limits which may change during school zone times.
- Avoid distracted driving and keep your attention on the road.
- Watch for students walking and riding bikes to school.
- Don’t pass a stopped school bus loading or unloading passengers. Violations could result in a fine of $250.
- On a two-lane road, vehicles traveling in both directions must stop.
- On a multi-lane paved road, vehicles traveling in both directions must stop.
- On a divided highway, vehicles behind the bust must stop. Vehicles traveling in the opposite direction may proceed with caution.
- Have all vehicle occupants wear their seatbelts.
- Pick-up and drop-off students in designated kiss and ride locations.
Pedestrians are reminded to:
- Cross the street at marked crosswalks and never against a red light.
- Look before you cross and follow the direction of school crossing guards.
- Always walk on designated sidewalks or paths, never along the side of a road.
Bicyclists are reminded to:
- Wear your helmet. Helmets are required for riders ages 14 and younger but are recommended for all.
- Keep right and ride with traffic.
- Secure your bicycle with a lock when not in use.
General Safety Tips for Students
Arlington County Police Department’s School Resource Officers (SROs) are preparing for another safe and successful academic year. SROs will be in the school community welcoming everyone back to class and visible throughout the year providing instruction as guest lecturers, conducting proactive patrols around schools, and building relationships vital to public safety.
Safety is everyone’s responsibility and back-to-school is an opportune time to remind students about important steps that can help keep them safe while out in the community. Parents and guardians are also encouraged to role-play possible situations with students and discuss personal safety and awareness tips.
- Know their address, telephone number and how to contact a parent or guardian.
- Remain aware of their surroundings.
- Walk or bike with another person, whenever possible. Stay in well-lit areas.
- Limit the use of devices that may distract them.
- Avoid engaging with or answering questions from strangers.
- Report immediately to a trusted adult if something occurs that makes them feel unsafe.
Internet Safety Tips for Students
The internet is an important educational tool for students, but online access also comes with risks. Before students’ head back to class, review account privacy settings, establish guidelines around internet use and discuss ways to keep them safe while online.
Remind students of these safety tips:
- Don’t reveal personal information including home address, phone number, or school name and location.
- Don’t advertise when you’re not going to be home.
- Don’t interact with or accept requests from strangers on the Internet
- Never agree to get together in person with anyone online without parent approval and/or supervision.
- Don’t post comments or images involving inappropriate or illegal topics such as threats, nudity, alcohol, drugs or weapons
- Report threatening or inappropriate posts or pictures right away
The Arlington County Police Department encourages parents and guardians to talk with their students about the serious nature and possible consequences of making and posting threatening statements. It is important that students understand that there is nothing funny about referencing violence in or around our schools and that any statements, photos or posts brought to our attention will be thoroughly documented and investigated. Following an investigation by police and a review by the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney, those making threats to our school community, even if they are under the age of 18, may be charged with the following Virginia Code sections:
- 18.2-60 Threats of death or bodily injury to a person or member of his family; threats to commit serious bodily harm to a person on school property;
- 18.2-83 Threats to bomb or damage buildings or means of transportation; false information as to danger to such buildings;
- 18.2-427 Use of profane, threatening, or indecent language over public airways or by other methods.
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