Careful On The Roads As Schools Countywide Begin New Year

For students across Palm Beach County, this Monday is when summer comes to its fateful — and, in the minds of some, far-too-soon — conclusion. It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were writing about the Class of 2015 graduating, congratulating them on their accomplishments and the hard work they had done to earn their diplomas.

Yet here we are again, on the cusp of a new school year. With it comes our usual reminder that there are renewed hazards on the roadways that are connected to this annual ritual.

The Town-Crier urges drivers young and old to exercise caution as they adjust to school bus traffic, lower speed limits in school zones and an increase in pedestrian traffic near schools. The 10-week summer vacation means that many drivers might be a bit rusty, and just like students need to get reacquainted with the scholastic world, so must motorists.

Reminder: Traffic near schools can be of rush-hour quality, especially near high schools, where a mixture of parents and young adults are behind the wheel.

Reminder: The flashing lights that warn drivers to slow down for school zones have been dormant for several months now, and we have become accustomed to driving through at the regular, posted speed limit. That changes next week; please don’t be caught unaware.

Reminder: It’s possible law enforcement might show some understanding or sympathy during the occasional traffic stop, but mercy to those who speed through school zones is rarely part of the equation.

Reminder: Fines for speeding citations handed out in these areas can be extreme, but fines are insignificant compared to the tragedy that can follow a vehicle/pedestrian accident or a collision with a school bus.

So please, be careful, for everyone’s sake.

Additionally, care should come into play even outside of school zones. Drivers should be alert to the presence of young pedestrians making their way to and from school and bus stops.

With these warnings out of the way, we want to wish all the students — those excited to get back into the classroom and those mourning the end of their summer vacation — success over the coming months. It is a time of new beginnings and final starts. For high school seniors, it’s their final scholastic frontier before heading off to college, the military, trade school or the work place. For kindergartners, it’s their introduction to a formal education.

Similarly, there are new teachers entering the classrooms, and veterans embarking on their final journey as a professional educator.

Finally, parents have a huge role to play in the education arena. Whether their children are of elementary, middle or high school age, their participation can determine just how successful both students and teachers will be between now and next spring.

If everyone does their part, we can keep our community’s children safe and on the proper learning curve. Now, it’s back-to-school time.