Monday’s start of school carries reminder: Watch out for kids
Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor

A shy Payton Pierce meets her new 2nd grade teacher, Rebecca Colley (left), at Bowie Elementary School this morning. Elementary schools throughout Sulphur Springs held "Meet the Teacher" and registration Friday to get ready for a fresh year. Also pictured (left to right) are Payton's 4th grade sister, Myranda, 4-year-old brother Jacob, and mother Melinda. 
Staff Photo By Angela Pitts

Aug. 11, 2006 -- With schools set to open for business Monday morning, Sulphur Springs police were busy Friday checking all the school zones to make sure warning lights are working and that all the school crossings are marked.

Police Capt. Norman Colyer said most of the school zones are the same as last year and reminded drivers to be alert for youngsters headed to school Monday.

"It's that time of year, and it comes around every year, so it is not a surprise," Colyer said. "You need to watch out, especially around the elementary schools."

Because of construction on Hillcrest Drive, Capt. Colyer said additional officers will be assigned to Early Childhood Learning Center.

"The school has asked for a couple of officers out there," he said. "We will have them there, morning and evening, for the next couple of weeks, and then we will go from there."

Although ECLC is situated some distance from the highway, Colyer said drivers should be cautious in the area because of traffic going into and out of the school.

Parents who attended registration at ECLC Thursday night were also told that the traffic patterns during drop-off and pick-up of students will be different during construction of additional classrooms. 

Vehicles entering the school must come from the north, and when exiting will only be able to turn south on Hillcrest.

Parents who are taking their children to Douglas Intermediate School for the first time this year also need to remember that streets around that school are one-way.

Another area of concern as school gets started are school buses and the laws requiring drivers to stop when a school bus is loading or unloading children.

"These kids are going to be excited about school and may or may not be watching, but it is up to us to watch out for them," he said.

When red lights on a bus are flashing, all traffic should stop, but yellow lights are a warning the bus will be making a stop.

"You will see the yellow lights come on as they are starting to stop," Colyer explained. "If you start [to go] around that bus while the yellow lights are flashing and they turn red and we happen to see it, that is passing a school bus while they are loading or unloading."

The law applies to traffic in any direction around the bus, including side streets. Traffic must stop all the way around the bus.

Bus drivers will not turn their red lights off until all the children reach the safety of the sidewalk.

"People know school is starting and we do this every year, so there should be no surprise Monday morning if somebody is running 35 miles per hour and they get pulled over by an officer," Colyer said. "They need to slow down around these schools."

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