OC Sheriff offering Back to School Safety Tips

With the 2017-18 school year set to begin on Thursday, Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw is offering these safety tips to help teachers, students, administrators and parents have the best learning environment possible and to help keep everyone safe. “The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is committed to helping keep everyone in our schools safe and as the chief law enforcement officer for the county, it is my responsibility to make sure that is the case. We have School Resource Officers at every high school in the county and at West-Oak Middle School and we have three SRO’s that work in the elementary schools in the Seneca, Walhalla and Westminster areas. We encourage all students, teachers, administrators and parents that have any concerns or need to report anything to contact our SRO’s and the Sheriff’s Office. We are also grateful and thankful to Dr. Michael Thorsland and everyone with the School District of Oconee County for the great relationship we have with them as we partner together. We also know that there are other schools in the county that are not affiliated with the School District and our commitment to them is just the same and just as important. The Sheriff’s Office stands ready to serve the students, teachers, administrators and parents of those schools and should anyone at these schools have concerns or incidents to report, we encourage them to do so as well.” Motorists traveling on a two lane road in both directions, regardless of the way the motorists is traveling, are required by law to come to a complete stop if a school bus has deployed its stop sign and its flashing lights as it either picks up or drops off students. On a roadway with four or more lanes, you are required to stop for a stopped school bus if you traveling in the same direction as the school bus, however, you are not required to stop by law if you are traveling in the opposite direction approaching the stopped school bus. There are fines and points assessed on your license if you violate the law regarding a stopped school bus. You are asked to observe the flashing speed limit signs that are posted in the school zones during the select times when the signs are flashing in the morning and afternoon hours. If you are caught speeding during these times in a school zone, you will be ticketed. Please watch for students, crossing guards, officers directing traffic and individuals picking up and dropping off students during these times. As always, avoid distractions, such as eating and using cellular devices, especially in the school zones. Especially for the first few weeks after school begins, please allow for extra time when picking up and dropping off students as all motorists will need time to get acquainted with the traffic patterns in the school zones. Also, since it has been a few months since the end of the previous school year, take time to watch out for students at the bus stops. Remember to look out for them because they may not be looking out for you. School bullying is a concern for everyone that is involved in the education of students and the Sheriff’s Office is offering these tips for parents in regards to trying to determine if their child is being bullied. Look for possible evidence of torn or damaged clothes, books or other items. Look for signs of stress, such as complaints of head or stomach aches or complaints of sickness. Bear in mind that these symptoms may not exist. Your child may not want to go to school all together. Look for signs of a lack of interest in activities, such as doing homework or participating in athletics or avoiding interaction with friends or other social activities. You may also see a loss of appetite or trouble sleeping or your child suffering from nightmares. Look for signs for your child feeling helpless or a loss of self-esteem or your child feeling sad all the time. There is always the possibility of your child being a bully themselves as a consequence of what they are dealing with. “We are very appreciative of the support of the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office,” said Dr. Michael Thorsland, district superintendent. “We also urge motorists to take extra caution these first few days of schools in order to protect our students and make Oconee County the safest place possible.”