School bells are ringing

Eric Watson Bradley County Sheriff
Posted 8/13/17

All over our area, the familiar sound of bells ringing means one thing, school is in session again. The buildings are open, the administration, staff and teachers are ready for the new year. …

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School bells are ringing


All over our area, the familiar sound of bells ringing means one thing, school is in session again. The buildings are open, the administration, staff and teachers are ready for the new year.

The question is, how do the students get to the schools?

I know we all have heard the old story of how our great-grandparents walked many miles each way in the snow to get to and from school, which, in some cases, was actually true! For most of us, in recent years, we either carpooled, walked to school as a group, were taken by a family member, or we rode a school bus.

In today’s world, with both parents and caregivers often working, a school bus is more likely than not to be the way local children get to school.

At the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, we have taken very special care in making sure your children are safe as they make their way to and from school each day. One of the tasks of the Public Safety Unit, as well as our School Resource Officers and Patrol Division deputies, is to monitor school zones and roadways close by those schools. We consider your child’s safety to be of extreme importance, and we go to great lengths to assure it.

In Tennessee, the Pupil Transportation Section of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security works to ensure schoolchildren who use public school buses travel safely to and from school. With approximately 8,700 school buses on the road in all 95 counties, this section is responsible for bus inspections and making sure bus systems comply with safety requirements set forth in state law.

One of the many ways we work closely with the Department of Safety and school staff is assuring laws governing travel on local roadways are followed. Probably the most well known is the so-called “Stop Sign Law.” That’s the one that says we all must stop when the buses’ red lights are flashing and the bright red stop arm is extended. This clearly indicates the bus has stopped, and children are getting on or off the bus.

It doesn’t matter if you’re behind the bus or driving in the opposite direction on a two-lane or multilane roadway — you do what the sign says: you stop. When the sign is withdrawn and the bus starts to move, other traffic can also move.

At an intersection, everybody stops when the bus arm is extended. From time to time, we maintain a presence around traveling buses, making sure drivers obey the law.

The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, along with other law enforcement agencies, is serious about keeping students safe as they travel to and from school. I encourage all drivers who encounter school buses, or who travel in or around school zones, to exercise extra caution during these times.

Let’s all work to make the beginning of the new school year safe for our students. Thank you for your always valuable assistance.


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