Photo/Story Gallery 2003

FHP Reaches Out to School Kids in Jax

Lt. Leeper talking pedestrian safety with kids at Arlington Elementary.Recently, Troop G Public Affairs Officer, Lt. Bill Leeper and other FHP personnel were busy reaching out to the younger members in Jacksonville. First, Troop G participated in the annual Walk To School Safely campaign held every October. Next, Jacksonville troopers helped students improve their reading and prepare for the FCAT at a local alternative school. Finally, FHP members in Troop G participated in Operation Bluebird, a program designed to emphasize school bus safety and catch motorists who fail to stop for school buses, endangering the safety of children traveling to and from school.

Arlington Elementary Students lining up to tour Shands Trauma One helicopter.Pictured left, Lt. Bill Leeper talks pedestrian safety with kids at Arlington Elementary and right, Arlington Elementary Students line up to tour Shands Trauma One helicopter.

During Walk To School Safely week, FHP’s Troop G staff helped with a local celebration of this national event at Arlington Elementary School sponsored by Shands Jacksonville Trauma One and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. Students at the local school held a poster and essay contest expressing the importance of pedestrian safety to and from school. Afterward, students and other participants walked around the block together to practice the safety techniques they had been taught.

Later, Troop G participated in a special reading project with 8th grade students at Mattie V. Rutherford Alternative School in Jacksonville. For the project, students were required to complete a comprehensive reading program in preparation for the Florida FCAT exams. FHP was on hand to help students improve their reading skills while at the same time educating them on Florida’s traffic laws, providing copies of the Florida Driver License Handbook for them to read.

Lt. Leeper and Linda Hubbard (teacher) with group of students.This past week, Troop G participated in Operation Bluebird, a program designed to emphasize to all motorists and children the importance of school bus safety, and to remind motorists that the police will be more closely monitoring school bus zones and stops throughout the state of Florida as part of National School Bus Safety Week, October 20-24, 2003.

Trooper Smith observing traffic as students get on school bus.Pictured left, Lt. Bill Leeper and Linda Hubbard (teacher) with group of students and right, Trooper Larry Smith observes traffic as students get on school bus.

As part of the event, troopers rode in school buses while observing motorists who failed to stop for school buses that were stopped to pick up children. Once a violator was observed, the trooper notified a waiting motorcycle officer or unmarked vehicle to stop the violator and take the appropriate enforcement action. Troopers also monitored school zones for speed violations. Operation Bluebird was designed to ensure greater compliance with traffic laws and make school children safer as they travel to and from school.

Jacksonville FHP motor officers standing ready to stop motorists who fail to stop for school buses.Pictured right: Jacksonville FHP motor officers stand ready to stop motorists who fail to stop for school buses.

List of school bus safety tips:

School Bus Safety Tips For Children

  • Walk safely to the bus stop and stay three giant steps away from the street.
  • While waiting for the school bus, stay away from the street and private property.
  • When your school bus arrives, never move toward the bus until the doors open.
  • Stay in your seat until the bus stops and the driver opens the door.
  • Be quiet, especially at railroad crossings and follow the driver’s directions.
  • Avoid strangers while waiting for the bus and never go anywhere with them.

School Bus Safety Tips For Motorists

  • Drivers in school zones must obey reduced speed limits during school hours and remember that speeding fines are doubled.
  • On two-lane roads and divided highways without an unpaved space of 5 feet or more or physical barrier, vehicles must stop in all directions upon approaching any school bus, which displays a stop signal and may not pass the bus until the signal has been withdrawn.
  • Drivers should be aware that school buses make stops at all railroad crossings.