With school starting Wednesday in Okaloosa County, the City of Destin and the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office discussed transportation safety and school zones.
“We want to welcome you to a brand new school year, but with the new school year comes a lot of safety issues,” said School Resource Officer Deputy Cullen Coraine. “We just wanted to remind you that school will be in session and you possibly will have to leave a little earlier in the morning to fight all the extra traffic that will be on the road.”
- And along with that, Deputy Cullen reminds residents to watch out for children walking to school, riding their bikes to school and at all of the crosswalks.
According to Catherine Card, Public Information Manager for the City of Destin, volunteers will be out near Destin schools helping to get the students to-and-from school safely.
“We want to encourage the buddy system,” she added. “If you’re a walker, walk in groups. We also want to make sure people are being cognizant of the active school zones and not running through stop signs.”
Card offered another piece of advice ahead of the school year which is to get to know your School Resource Officer.
- “We’re truly blessed that the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office has such an amazing SRO program that is state and nationally accredited,” she said. “Not only from the safety aspect, but they’re a mentor as well.”
Deputy Cullen added that student safety comes first, but after that, he says they become “big brothers and big sisters.”
- “We become mentors and we end up building relationships with not just the kids, but the parents,” he said.
Finally, let’s all get a refresher on when to stop for a school bus.
When a school bus is dropping off or picking up kids, if there is a median at least five feet in the middle of the road, you only have to stop in the direction of the bus, according to Deputy Cullen.
- “If there’s no median, all lanes of travel must stop for the bus,” he added.
“Just plan extra time and be safe getting back into that routine,” added Card. “Watch out for each other and have a wonderful school year.”