Welcome to LoudounTimes.com
Loudoun Times-Mirror
Leesburg Today Archives

Students Get Safety Message Ahead Of Schools’ Reopening

© Leesburg Today - 08/25/2015

National and state transportation experts want to get a clear message across ahead of the new school year: Think safety.

National and state transportation experts and local school leaders rattled off some interesting statistics during a transportation safety event at Trailside Middle School on Tuesday morning.

In Loudoun, 830 buses will drive more than 8 million miles this school year; 55 crossing guards will be on patrol each morning and afternoon; and 15 percent of the county's students will walk or ride their bike to school, above the state average of 10 percent.

But beyond the numbers, representatives from the National Transportation Safety Board, Loudoun County Public Schools, Safe Kids Fairfax County, Youth of Virginia Speak Out and Virginia Safe Routes, as well as Loudoun Sheriff Mike Chapman, wanted to get a clear message across to the students, parents and teachers gathered in the middle school parking lot: Think safety.

""It's almost show time,"" Loudoun Superintendent Eric Williams said of the start of the academic year Monday. ""We need to be focused on getting our children to school safely each and every day.""

An additional 1,200 more students will be asked to either walk or ride their bike to the county's public schools this year, to bring the total who do not receive bus service to 16,470. Another 54,000 are expected to ride the bus to school.

The transportation and law enforcement officials lined up in front of yellow buses at Tuesday's event offered several safety tips for students and motorists. They encouraged students walking to school to cross streets only at crosswalks, look before crossing and avoid wearing headphones. Students on bikes should wear helmets and obey traffic laws.

They also urged students who ride buses to do their best to not distract bus drivers. And, they added, motorists should be extra cautious when driving near schools.

""Be vigilant and most of all be patient,"" Tom Zoeller, managing director of the National Transportation Safety Board, said. ""Drivers are required to stop for buses and give pedestrians the right of way. I'm sure Sheriff Chapman and his colleagues will be aggressively enforcing these rules because following the rules protects children.""

Tyler Stevens, who attended the event, has a lot to look forward to this week. On Monday, he'll officially be a middle-schooler as he enters the sixth grade at Trailside Middle School, where his older brother will be in eighth grade.

""I'm excited. I'm most excited to get to ride bike to school,"" he said.

He has a helmet, he added, and is ready to roll.

Back to the Leesburg Today archives

The Loudoun Times-Mirror

is an interactive, digital replica
of the printed newspaper.
Click here for all e-editions.