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Officials to stress safety during bus ride-alongs

Aug. 21, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

IRONTON -- A school bus ride-along program by Lawrence County sheriff's officials will begin Wednesday, Aug. 21, to stress school bus safety and to enforce laws about stopping when school buses are loading and unloading students, Sheriff Jeff Lawless said Tuesday.

"We've done ride-along programs before, but this is the first time we'll be on buses in every (public) school district in the county," Lawless said. "Chief Deputy Jeff Hitchcock will be on a Dawson-Bryant school bus tomorrow. It will take us a few weeks to get to every district. It will probably be over the next two or three weeks."

Lawless and the office's school safety officer will take part in the ride-along program.

"It's something they're doing across the state, and with school starting, we decided to take it to all our school districts," Lawless said. "This is the first time we have done this countywide."

"It is important for our children to understand the need for proper behavior while riding the bus to school," he said. "Respect, responsibility and restraint are the new three Rs to be learned" by students riding the bus, he said.

The effort is being coordinated by the sheriff's office and the Buckeye State Sheriff's Association, Lawless said. "The whole idea is to help kids be safe."

Motorists also have to make adjustments with school buses back on county roads, he said. Drivers need to slow down and stop when students board and depart from school buses, he said. Drivers need to be attentive in school zones and when buses are stopped.

Law enforcement officers can issue citations to motorists who ignore yellow flashing lights or red lights. "If we get a license plate, we can issue citations through the mail," Lawless said.

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