While students and parents prepare supplies and backpacks ahead of Wednesday’s first day of school, the Huntsville Police Department’s School Resource Officers (SROs) are making their own preparations.
SROs are assigned to every Huntsville City Schools campus to be a resource for students, teachers, faculty, parents and guardians. They keep students, staff and visitors safe, but their job involves so much more.
“We enforce laws on school campuses, but that’s not my favorite part of the job,” said SRO David Jones. “Teaching students about police work, serving as a mentor and helping inspire students to pursue careers in areas they might not have considered available to themselves.”
To ensure a safe start to the 2021-2022 school year, Jones and SRO Lenzie Albert – both assigned to Mae Jemison High School – shared some safety tips:
Starting Wednesday, kids of all ages will be waiting at bus stops. Drivers should stay off their cell phones and make eye contact with children who are crossing the street. Never pass a bus loading or unloading children. When a school bus arm retracts, make sure no students are in the road before proceeding.
When on a school campus or road, stay far enough back from buses to allow for students to safely enter and exit the bus. The 10-foot area around a school bus is the most dangerous.
Obey posted speed limits on both roads and school campuses. SROs notice when students are dropped off, parents often forget posted speed limits and accelerate when leaving a school campus.
Many school campuses will have newly licensed teens driving to school for the first time, so it’s important for their parents to emphasize parking lot safety. Experienced drivers should exercise patience with teens as they ease into a routine.
Take a few minutes with your child each day to see how school is going. If they are having issues, contact school administrators. If you have a serious safety or security concern about information a child has shared, stay calm and contact law enforcement.