Staying safe as the school year starts up again

As back-to-school season approaches, we want to remind our readers to get the semester off to a safe start.

In advance of the beginning of classes, the Marquette County Sheriff’s Office has released a number of safety tips for students and motorists alike, for when those big yellow buses hit the streets for yet another academic year.

Student tips provided by the sheriff’s office include staying seated on the bus while its moving, never walking behind a bus since its difficult for a driver to see a small child and never picking something up that has fallen until after the bus has driven away.

Tips for motorists largely come back to the same theme – pay more attention to sidewalks and crosswalks and slow down.

Also, resist the urge to use your phone while driving. That tip can be useful all year long, not just when school is in session. And never pass a school bus when its lights are flashing red – this means a child is getting on or off the bus.

The sheriff’s office is also is offering tips to students who walk or ride their bikes to and from school.

Parents are encouraged to walk the route with their kids before school starts, choosing the most direct way to school. Parents driving their kids to school should also park as close to the school as possible and watch their children enter the building before driving away.

Kids are encouraged to stay away from vacant lots, playgrounds or other areas where not many people are around as they walk or ride to school.

Kids riding bikes should wear helmets – which the sheriffs office says can reduce the risk of head injury by 85 percent – and other protective gear.

And, of course, the old mainstay rule applies: kids should never talk to strangers.

As school begins next week across Marquette County and the rest of the Upper Peninsula, these tips are a good way to stay safe and enjoy another school year.