Being careful as school begins

By the time you have opened the Peabody Gazette-Bulletin to this page, our children will either be sitting in class for the first day of school or they will have that first day behind them. About this time of year newspapers all over the country run opinion columns reminding drivers that school is back in session. This newspaper is no different.

Our youngsters are on the street in groups earlier than they have been for the past couple of months, and when they are headed home in the afternoon, most of them still are in groups, exuberant and grateful to be out of class. Just about the last thing any of them are thinking about is whether or not those of us behind the wheel of a car are watching out for them.

So, that is the first rule of the day. They are kids — they likely are not watching for you, so you need to be watching for them. Allow yourself a few extra minutes to get to work, to get your own children to or from school, or to run whatever errands you need to run. Slow down and expect the unexpected.

Parents, remind your young children to pause before crossing the street and to look both ways. Remind them not to take a dare from friends to dash across the street in traffic. If they ride bicycles to school, remember that they are obligated to obey the same traffic laws as automobiles and review those regulations with them.

Also, be aware of young drivers. Having spent 30-some years living on Walnut St. in this community, I know that most young people behind the wheel are checking out their friends, not watching oncoming traffic.

If your children are driving to and from school, make sure they know you disapprove of texting and exhibiting excessive speed or reckless driving. No one wants to live the rest of his or her life remembering one brief moment of bad judgment that ended in the death or severe injury of a child. Nothing is worth that.

Peabody Police Chief Bruce Burke asked me this week to remind you all of the above issues as we take up another school year in Peabody. He said we need to practice “heightened safety awareness” as school begins and he is right.

We all need to be careful and vigilant.

— SUSAN MARSHALL

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