South Bend public school students head back to class

By: Katherine Rufener Email
By: Katherine Rufener Email

More than 21,000 students head back to class from the South Bend Community School Corporation Wednesday to begin the 2010-2011 school year.

That means more buses and pedestrians will be out on the roads and sidewalks so drivers should be careful.

Richard Hammond from the SBCSC Transportation Department says now is a good time to remind kids who may be walking to school about being safe.

"Stay on the sidewalks if they have them, don't dart into traffic, cross at intersections only and not in the middle of the streets," Hammond said. "Try to get your kid to the bus stop 5 minutes early. We have 250 buses that transport 17,000 kids; and we'll do our job but we need the help of the public."

The buses are equipped with safety features that drivers should be aware of like yellow and red flashing lights.

"The front crossing arm is a safety feature to keep children about 6 feet back from the bumper so our driver can see them," said a supervisor with the transportation department. "It helps them see them in the mirrors and also keeps them away from the bumper so they don't have any blind spots."

Keep in mind that similar to efforts in the past police will be stepping up their presence to make sure it's a safe day on the roads for students. Officers will mostly be staged in school zones with squad car lights on, writing citations for any and all drivers they catch breaking the law whether it be speeding or driving recklessly.

This will also be the second year for South Bend's cell phone ban in school zones. The city-wide ban went into effect last summer. If you are pulled over the first offense will cost you $75, the second $125 and the third $250. The law does say it is ok to use hands-free devices while driving in school zones.

The South Bend Community School Corporation is St. Joseph County's oldest and largest school corporation, and the fourth largest school corporation in Indiana.


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