Photo Courtesy of Edwina Lomeli

The Lomeili kids on their first day back in school.


Last Tuesday Was the First Day for LAUSD

Those lazy, carefree days of summer vacation ended for more than 650,000 students who are started the 2014-15 school year on Tuesday, August 12. Thousands of children will walk and bike to campuses in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Others will take a bus, and some will drive. No matter how they get to school,safety first is a priority.  

“The safety of students and staff is our top priority,” said Los Angeles School Police Chief Steven K. Zipperman. “The school police remind all motorists to be extra cautious and give yourself extra traveling time tomorrow. We will have numerous students, parents and guardians walking along our safe routes to school and many our students will be traveling by bicycle. Don’t text while driving and remain extra alert.”    

 Traffic is expected to increase, especially before the first bell rings, at dismissal and when after-school programs end. More than 1,600 school buses will be back on the streets, and public transportation may be crowded.

To enforce laws that put safety first, the school police department will be partnering with local law enforcement during the first days to get kids and parents familiar with the safety routine. The enforcement will include but not be limited to school crossing guard yielding violations; speeding violations through the school zone and school bus yielding violations. Motorists and pedestrians must obey crossing guards. Whether a guard is present or not, pedestrians must cross the street in crosswalks, if one is available, or from a street corner or intersection. The speed limit with school children present is 25 mph. Bicycle riders must wear helmets at all times. Motorists must stop—in both directions—when school buses flash red lights, while loading or unloading students.

Here are some additional safety tips.

Pedestrians should:

 Choose a safe route to school.

Walk with a parent or friend(s).

Stay on the sidewalk and if there is none, walk facing traffic.

Before crossing a street, look to the left, to the right, and to the left again for cars and other vehicles. Do not cross if traffic is coming. Use a crosswalk if one is available.

 Bike-riders should:

Always wear a helmet and make sure to buckle your chinstrap.

Ride on bike paths or on the sidewalk. Do not ride in the street.

Be aware of everything and everyone around you.

Students who ride school buses should:

Stand five giant steps from the road until the school bus arrives, and the driver says to board.

When boarding the school bus, go straight to your seat, sit facing the front and listen to the driver.

When exiting the bus, watch out for traffic before proceeding.  Wait for the driver to signal it’s safe to cross.

With students heading back to school, everyone – on foot, on a bike, in a car or a bus—should pay extra attention to safety.