Let's make school year a safe and successful one

Fall is in the air, silvers are in the river, and students across the Kenai Peninsula are back in school.

The first day of classes for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District was Tuesday, and we’d like to take this opportunity to remind people to use extra caution on the roads, especially around schools and along school bus routes.

Drivers on peninsula roads are going to see an increase in traffic, with school buses and parents ferrying students. Give yourself a few extra minutes to get to your destination. Pay attention to speed limits, especially in school zones, and remember to stop and wait when you see a school bus with red flashing lights. With changes to school configurations, particularly in Soldotna, traffic patterns may be different this year, too.

Many students walk or ride bicycles, skateboards and scooters to school, and drivers need to watch for them, too. In fact, Soldotna is taking steps to encourage more walkers and bikers with its “Safe Routes to School” project. Some of those youngsters are still pretty excited to get to school and will be bounding across streets without looking; for others, the excitement of the first day may have faded and they will be dragging their feet in the crosswalk a little longer than expected. Either way, be sure to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.

And while a bill to ban cell phone use while driving in a school zone was held in a legislative committee last year, it’s still a good idea to put the cell phone down and limit distractions while driving.

Parents, please give your kids a refresher on pedestrian and bicycle safety. Before long, it will be a little darker as kids are heading to school; be sure they’re outfitted with bright, reflective clothing.

It’s a new year in the classroom, too, and we’re looking forward to exciting results. A good education is key to becoming a productive member of society. Students, we know you may not want to hear it — or maybe you’ve heard it ad nauseam — but the more you apply yourself now, the better your options will be when you finish school.

So study hard, be safe, and good luck with the 2014-15 school year.

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