Back-to-School: Student safety enforcement, school staff, law enforcement prepared

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Neb. -- Within the coming weeks, schools will be welcoming students back onto their campuses, which means more traffic and risks to their safety, but local law enforcement and school officials are prepared.

It won't be long before empty school buildings are filled with kids.

"You're going to see more students on their bikes, in the streets and in the crossing areas of the streets," Hastings Public Schools' director of business and finance Jeff Schneider said. "It's going to be busy, not just because of Hastings Public School but because of all of the schools in town."

However, parents can rest assured knowing local law enforcement and staff are prepared to keep kids safe with added security.

"We make a concerted effort to have our officers around schools during during prime time, so when kids are being dropped off, when the kids are being picked up," Sergeant Brian Hessler with Hastings Police Department said.

School officials also say they'll be making sure students know how to stay safe as they're walking to and from school.

"We'll continue to talk about safety with our students in their respective schools," Schneider added.

However, school staff and police say most of the responsibility for keeping kids safe lies in the hands of drivers.

"Kids are going to be kids sometimes, and hopefully the adults are slowing down just a bit to help those students out," Schneider said. "That's really the key."

As cell phone use becomes more common with younger kids, it's also something drivers need to be aware of, too, since more kids will be distracted by their phones as they're walking.

"They might not always see cars coming. They might not always be paying much attention, and we'd just like to ask everyone to be careful," Sgt. Hessler said.

Though schools will have security, police still suggest drivers slow down and stay aware of children at every turn.

"It's about being observant and watching the blind spots. A kid could come up between 200 yards or a place you're not watching, and that's of the reason why we have speeds reduced in school zones," Sgt. Hessler said.

As a reminder, speed limits in school zones are set at 15 mph, and speeding fines are doubled.

Police also note their enforcement will be year round, not just at during the start and end of the school year.