Anchorage School District students start the school year on Tuesday, August 20th. Regardless if you’re in the “Thank goodness, FINALLY” camp or on the “Holy crow where did the summer go” side – it’s happening. Here are a few things you need to know about this impending first day of school.
Parents, please talk to your kids regularly about safe internet and social media behavior and monitor their activity. Some of the most common issues our School Resource Officers (SROs) encounter throughout the school year are sexting, bullying, harassment, and threats. It’s important your children understand what is acceptable behavior and what is not. If you or your child notices anything questionable or suspicious online, please report it to APD immediately so we may investigate and determine if any criminal action has occurred. Last year SROs filed charges against many students for threats made towards the school building, staff, and/or fellow students. We take all such circumstances very seriously. Safety in our schools is paramount.
As always, drivers need to be extra aware of the increased amount of foot traffic we’ll be seeing during school opening and closing times. Passing school busses, traveling in the same direction as you, which have their stop arm and lights activated is very illegal and dangerous. You may pass a school bus with its stop arm and lights activated if it’s traveling in the opposite direction as you are AND there is a median between your lane and theirs AND there are at least two lanes traveling in each direction.
Here’s the new part. As of June 20, 2019 handheld cell phone use is illegal in active school zones and/or upon school grounds. If you are caught violating this new ordinance, the fine is a big one: 6 points on your license and a $500 fine. Here are the pertinent points to know regarding AMC 9.28.055(E)(1):
- This law is in effect 6AM – 9PM seven days a week, 365 days a year.
- This law applies to all signed school zones where the speed limit is 25 mph.
- This law applies to all school zones where there are temporary speed reductions to 20 mph or less (the school zones with the yellow flashing lights).
- This law does NOT apply to vehicles that are stopped (ex: parked in a school parking lot) or if the mobile device is being used hands-free.
- If you are in violation of this ordinance, and you cause a collision that results in injury or death, the penalty for this ordinance becomes a misdemeanor.
Our SROs have worked closely with school staff for years to make sure your students are as safe as they can be while preparing for their futures. Please help us out by keeping an open line of communication with us. If you see something – say something. Always.
Here’s to a fantastic and productive new school year!!