School zone safety reminder as students return to class

BELLEVILLE, Ill. – With the school year starting in the metro area, it’s critically important to remind drivers, parents, and students about school zone safety. Belleville school officials and police are ready.

Back to school means back to school zone safety. This is the time to bring attention to everybody in the community that lots of walkers and bus riders will be out on streets near schools.

“It’s just important for people to increase awareness that we have children on sidewalks and crosswalks crossing streets to get to and from school,” said Matt Klosterman, superintendent of the Belleville Public School District.

Schools have speed zones for a reason. Law enforcement also understands the importance of patrolling and making themselves visible as much as possible in these areas.

“Starting next Monday, we'll be going out to local schools and enforcing school zone speed limits throughout week while we are here,” said Sgt. Lee Graham, St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department.

School districts all around the area have crossing guards and speed zones to help protect children but accidents can happen.

“We had a student that was hit. It was not a severe situation, but it brought attention to the issue of safety for adults and students that are on the streets,” Klosterman said.

In Belleville, crossing guards are utilized in heavy traffic areas, as well as major intersections where kids cross.

“It’s important that people understand to put down cells, pay attention, because in school zones, kids sometimes do run out, so you got to be prepared to stop,” Graham said.

Superintendent Klosterman has encouraged parents and students to discuss safety issues and make sure kids know the best routes to school and, if at all possible, walk with at least one other person and pay attention.