Safe Schools, Buses and Neighborhoods
October 16-21 is National Safe Schools Week and National School Bus Safety Week. Pasco Sheriff’s Office is dedicated to keeping our community safe, including schools and neighborhoods year-round. Roads, sidewalks and pathways experience more traffic during the school year and need extra caution. It’s important to slow down and pay attention no matter how you travel to help keep our students, families and neighborhoods and community protected.
Everyone shares the responsibility of being safe and keeping others safe when commuting. PSO’s School Crossing Guards (SCGs) help students and their families stay safe when traveling to and from school. When crossing the street, use a crosswalk and if a SCG is present, wait for their direction before crossing. Traffic Control Officers (TCOs) ensure drivers are careful in school zones while managing increased traffic from commuters. When a TCO is in an intersection directing traffic, drivers must follow the direction of the TCO and not traffic signals, such as traffic lights. Drivers should also be extra vigilant in neighborhoods around times when students will be traveling to and from school.
While school buses are one of the safest vehicles on the road, others must obey a bus’s signs as well as laws related to schools buses. School buses stand out from other vehicles on the road, providing enhanced safety features such as a bright exterior, flashing lights and stop signs. School buses signal to drivers when to stop or prepare to stop. Yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload passengers. Red flashing lights and deployed stop signs signal for all vehicles to stop. Passing a stopped school bus can result in serious fines, injuries or death, so it’s imperative for everyone’s safety that drivers obey a bus’s lights and signs.
The safety of Pasco’s students is a priority for PSO. In addition to providing campus security, PSO’s School Resource Officers are also mentors, coaches and teachers. SROs are specially-trained deputies assigned to specific middle and high schools. While their primary responsibility is protect students and staff on campus, they aim to assist students in any way they can, from helping with homework or school projects, to serving as club leaders. Pasco Sheriff’s Office was named the 2022 Agency of the Year by the Florida Association of School Resource Officers this summer. This was in recognition of our innovative approach and exceptional commitment to school safety.
School safety is a top priority for PSO all year long. This National Safe Schools and School Bus Safety Week, PSO reminds citizens that together with community support, we can work to keep our schools and students safe. Following these important school safety tips we can keep Pasco County students safe year-round!