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Buy supplies, review safety plan — school is back in session

August 9, 2017
Lehigh Acres Citizen

An estimated 95,000 students across Lee County will head back to school on Thursday as the new academic year begins.

That means at least three things for parents: Get ready to meet your child's teacher, get your wallets out, and it's time to review your safety plan with small walkers and bus riders.

According to the National Retail Federation, families with children in grades K-12 will spend an average $687.72 on clothes, shoes, accessories, electronics and school supplies - the most since 2012.

Parents say they will spend an average $238.89 on clothing, $204.33 on electronics, $130.38 on shoes and $114.12 on school supplies, NRF's website states.

That's a pretty penny, with total spending for K-12 and college expected to reach $83.6 billion, up from last year's $75.8 billion, the federation estimates.

Meanwhile, open houses at School District of Lee County schools begin last week. Out of the East Zone schools, Harns Marsh Elementary still has its open house planned for today at 4:30 p.m.

Parents also have a few days for another must do: Preparing their children for the start of the new academic year by emphasing safety.

The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has provided a pretty comprehensive list that we have shared in the past:

- Be alert while backing up:

- Walk around your vehicle to check for children playing.

- Turn off your radio to better hear your surroundings.

- Keep your foot on the brake until you completely shift into reverse.

- Back out slowly.

- Teach children to never play in, on, around or under vehicles.

- Know your vehicle's blind spots and look again before backing.

- Pedestrian and bicycle safety:

- While on a bicycle, ride in the same direction as traffic and obey all traffic signs, signals and lane markings.

- Always use a headlight and taillight at night.

- Pedestrians should use the sidewalk if there is one; if not, walk on the side of the road facing traffic.

- Always cross streets where pedestrians are expected, such as corners and crosswalks.

- Be visible. Wear bright and reflective colors on your clothes, shoes and wristbands.

- Bus safety:

- Motorists are required to stop when approaching a school bus that is stopped with its red lights flashing and "STOP" arms extended.

- The only time traffic approaching an oncoming school bus does not need to stop, is if there is a raised barrier such as a concrete divider or at least five feet of unpaved space separating the lanes of traffic.

- Motorists should be alert and watch for children especially near schools, bus stops and school buses and in school parking lots.

- At bus stops, children should wait in a safe place away from the road.

- Children should never walk behind a bus.

Be aware, take care. Make it a safe - and productive - school year.

- Citizen editorial



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