AAA shares school time safety tips in Milford

MILFORD — With school back in session, student safety is once again a concern for parents and professionals across the state.

AAA enlisted the help of three local professionals eager to tackle safety tips for a video to be distributed via social media as students and parents in the Milford School District visited with their new teachers Thursday — Milford School District School Resource Officer Senior Cpl. Theresa Bloodsworth from the Milford Police Department, Behavioral Specialist Robert McFatter and Matthew Eskridge, Traffic Safety Program Manager with the Mid-Atlantic Foundation for Safety and Education.

“You have a lot of parents with kindergarteners who are new to this, so they’re not really cognizant of some of these safety tips,” Mr. Eskridge said. “And then, you have the parents who have been at this for five years with fifth graders now and have become complacent which is equally as dangerous.”

But it’s not just parents who need to remember that school has just begun, he added. All drivers could benefit from hearing about school-time safety concerns again.

“Here in Milford, we have two campuses right on top of each other in the high school and middle school, and then Ross and Mispillion. And Banneker gets very busy, too,” Cpl. Bloodsworth said. “It’s incredibly important for drivers to remember that school is back in session.”

Milford School District School Resource Officer Senior Cpl. Theresa Bloodsworth from the Milford Police Department, Behavioral Specialist Robert McFatter, RJK Transportation, Inc. President and Bus Driver Bob Koppenhaver and Matthew Eskridge, Traffic Safety Program Manager with the Mid-Atlantic Foundation for Safety and Education, work together on a video for AAA on transportation safety during the school year. The Chronicle/Jennifer Antonik

Mr. Eskridge started the conversation by offering several tips for keeping children and drivers safe during the school year.

“For drivers, keep your speed low and stay alert. Pay attention,” he said, adding that children walking to school may be safer if walking with a responsible adult who can help them pay attention, as well.

“Look left, look right, then look left again. Listen and make sure no traffic is coming. If there’s a crossing guard, please use the crossing guard. Teach those kids about cross the street safely,” he said.

Cpl. Bloodsworth echoed the importance of crosswalks and being mindful of intersections without crosswalks and local transportation and pedestrian laws.

“We’ve seen children out of seatbelts, using the wrong car seats or even children under 12 in the front seat,” she explained. “It’s easy to keep people safe. It’s just as easy to be lazy and not do it. We want everyone to be safe.”

Safety on the bus ride to and from school is also important, according to Mr. McFatter.

“One of the main things a child needs to do on a bus is listen to the driver. And we always say bottom to bottom, back to back,” he said. “The kids have a very important role in keeping the bus safe.”

AAA hopes spreading word about key safety concerns will help keep Milford School District students, drivers and others throughout the state safer for the 2018-2019 school year.

Jennifer Antonik can be reached at mc@newszap.com

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