ROCKINGHAM — The new school year is off to a great start, said Karen Allen, assistant principal at Washington Street Elementary School.
Richmond County Sheriff’s Deputy Cory Jones parked his patrol car across from the school Monday morning as students arrived for their first day of class, and was there again for afternoon dismissal.
“It’s been pretty good,” Jones said. “This is the same traffic pattern they’ve had every year since I’ve been here. The parents are very familiar with it and it’s gone very well today. I only noticed a problem with some of the kids from the high school.”
Richmond Senior High School’s Washington Street entrance is a little more than one mile northeast of the elementary school, and students allowed to drive their cars to school should be extra careful on the road, Jones said.
Allen said the buses arrived safely and with no major delays Monday morning.
“There have been no problems this afternoon,” Allen said as she monitored students on their way from the building to the bright yellow buses lined up along the circle. “We’re planning to continue this way throughout the year.”
Another sheriff’s deputy was stationed across the street from the Richmond County Ninth Grade Academy on County Home Road, where traffic also appeared to be moving along safely at dismissal time.
1st Sgt. A.K. Dietrich of the North Carolina Highway Patrol said it is important for drivers to be extra cautious as students return to school, not only because of teenage drivers on the roads but also because of the movement of school buses.
State troopers say drivers should remember that on two-lane roads with or without center turning lanes, all traffic from both directions must stop when a school bus has its stop arm extended. Drivers in both directions must also stop on four-lane roads without a median.
On divided highways with four or more lanes with a median and on roads with four or more lanes separated by a turning lane, only traffic following the bus must stop.
Rules for encounters with school buses can be found by visiting www.ncbussafety.org.
Reach reporter Melonie Flomer at 910-331-2673 and follow her on Twitter @melonieflomer.