Fort Rucker children go back to school--safety first, last, always
Cpl. Terry Beyer, Department of the Army civilian police field training officer, writes a Soldier a ticket for speeding July 27. School starts Aug. 6 and police officials encourage drivers to pay attention to speed limits throughout neighborhoods - typically 20 mph, and 15 mph in school zones.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Parents and children should adequately plan and communicate in order to have a safe school year, officials said.

As children get settled into their new education routines, all community members should take extra safety precautions to keep Fort Rucker youth safe, said Peggy Contreras, Community Police Supervisor.

Community and Military Police will show a greater patrol presence on post to ensure a smooth start to the school year, she said.

School zone speed limits are 15 mph during the beginning and ending of school days. Drivers are reminded of this rule by flashing lights and signs throughout school zones, said Sgt. Zeyna Jimenez, Community Police noncommissioned officer-in-charge.

"Slow down when you see kids," Contreras said. "Kids are quick and impulsive."

Motorists should follow all posted speed limits throughout the day, especially in neighborhoods, where the limit is 20 mph, Jimenez said.

"(Speeding is) dangerous. We don't want anyone to get injured," she said.

Drivers must also respect other installation rules, such as allowing pedestrians the right of way and only using hands-free cellular devices.

"If you see people in the crosswalk, stop and let them cross," Contreras said.

Youngsters also play a part in staying safe. Those bicycling or walking to school should always use the buddy system and travel on sidewalks, Contreras said. Children should never talk to or accept rides from strangers. Parents should establish backup plans with their Families as to who children can ride with in emergency situations.

School children should immediately inform teachers or parents about any bullying they encounter or worries they have about the classroom environment.

"If you hear kids threaten to harm others, tell somebody," Contreras said.

Children frequently browse the Internet during their free time or as a study tool, and should be aware of possible dangers. They should never talk to anyone online who they don't already know and trust in person, she noted.

"When you go online, you don't know who you're dealing with," Contreras said.

Internet users should never share their full names, Family members' names, location, addresses or school names with strangers, Contreras noted. Children should immediately inform parents of any suspicious communication - including strangers asking children to withhold information from their parents and people prodding for additional contact information, Family schedules or meeting places.

Some children may spend time alone between arriving home from school and when their parents' work days end. Contreras advises youth not to answer doors when by themselves and to spend time doing quiet activities like chores or homework. They should call trusted adults in the event anything suspicious happens.

Parental involvement is important to carrying out these tips, she noted. Children don't always explain concerns or problems the same way adults do, and look at life situations differently than older people.

"Kids have a whole different language than we (adults) have," Contreras said. "You have to find out who that person, thing or event is (that they are talking about). Just listen."

For more safety information, call Contreras at 255-3273.

For more school information, call the Fort Rucker Primary and Elementary schools at 598-4473 and 598-4408.

Page last updated Fri August 6th, 2010 at 10:54