Police Department Addresses School Safety - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Police Department Addresses School Safety

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With school being in session, that means many kids in the area are walking or riding their bikes to school in North Dakota.  But, that doesn't necessarily mean drivers or kids know what to do when they're using a crosswalk.

Its 3:00 p.m. at Bel Air Elementary School and class has just let out for the day.  For many of the kids, that means they'll be walking home while others will be trying to find their ride.

"When we want to get somewhere, we take the shortest route and sometimes that's just crossing in the middle of the street," says Mike Fogarty, Bel Air Elementary School Principal.

 But, research by the National SAFE KIDS Campaign and FedEx Express reveals that nearly half of motorists are not stopping at stop signs near school zones and in residential areas across the nation. 

"There's more traffic right after school because it's more compressed," says Fogarty.

Each year, stop sign violations area associated with approximately 200 fatal crashes and 17,000 non-fatal injury crashes across the nation.  But, the Minot Police Department is trying to put a stop to that. 

"What we're trying to do right now is prevent any of that from happening," says Sergeant Margie Zietz, Minot Police Department Crime Prevention.

That's why the PTA at Bel Air Elementary School along with the Minot Police Department have been working together to come up with a program to stress the importance of school safety for the kids. 

"It's one of those messages that have to be repeated frequently," says Fogarty.

Sgt. Zietz spoke to Bel Air students about using extra caution when using pedestrian crosswalks, as well as using the safest routes to school, and wearing reflective clothing.

"They already have great ideas, they just need to know its okay," says Zietz.

Even in dark and rainy days like today, it's still important for teachers, administrators and drivers to work together to keep our kids safe.

"Moms and dads are like boys and girls and we all need reminders too," explains Fogarty.  "So, it's just an effort we need to make all the time."

So, the next time you're driving near a school or a crosswalk, Fogarty has a message for drivers.

"Slow down and watch what you're doing, be very careful, and expect the unexpected."

The PTA at Bel Air Elementary School has formed a committee to address school safety concerns and issues.

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