David Scott, Chief of Police
59 Main St.
Pepperell, MA 01463
Townsend Police Department
Robert M. Eaton Jr., Chief of Police
70 Brookline Road
Townsend, MA 01469
Ashby Police Department
Fred Alden, Chief of Police
893 Main Street
Ashby, MA 01431
For Immediate Release
Friday, Aug. 26, 2015
Contact: John Guilfoil
*Joint Press Release* Pepperell, Townsend and Ashby Police Provide Residents With Back to School Safety Tips
PEPPERELL — Pepperell Police Chief David Scott, Townsend Police Chief Robert M. Eaton Jr. and Ashby Police Chief Fred Alden would like to provide safety tips for all residents as students prepare to return to school over the next two weeks.
Students in grades one through 12 in the North Middlesex Regional School District will begin classes next Tuesday, Aug. 30. Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students begin classes on Tuesday, Sept. 6.
“We want the transition back to school to be as smooth as possible for both students and parents,” Chief Scott said. “The tips provided will help to ensure safety for all and to make the process as stress-free as possible.”
Chiefs Scott, Eaton and Alden are asking that residents follow several safety tips provided by Officer Brent Davis:
- When walking to school, use bike paths and sidewalks where available. In areas where there are no sidewalks or bike paths, walk along the side of the road facing traffic.
- If riding a bicycle to school and there are no bike paths, ride with traffic; if riding in the dark your bike must have a light on it.
- Always wear a helmet when riding a bicycle.
- Wear light-colored clothing and avoid using headphones or other electronic devices that will distract you from traffic.
- Students that ride the bus should arrive at the bus stop early, stay away from traffic and never walk behind the bus.
- Make sure the bus comes to a complete stop before trying to enter or exit the bus.
- Never rely solely on flashing bus lights to stop traffic. If you have to cross the street, observe traffic and watch for the signal from your bus driver that it is safe to cross.
“The start of a new school year can be very exciting for students, and sometimes children can forget to think about safety,” Chief Eaton said. “We urge all who travel along the roadways throughout town to be vigilant, especially during the school week, so we can ensure a safe and happy school year.”
- Avoid having to rush and leave earlier to give yourself ample time to get to your destination. Even if you don’t have a student returning to class next week, you need to be prepared for buses that make frequent stops.
- Be aware of traffic around schools, especially when driving during the hours prior to school starting and at dismissal time.
- As a driver, it is your responsibility to know where school zones are and adhere to the posted speed limit. Speed limits of 20 mph in school zones will be strictly enforced.
- Crossing guards will be present to assist students in crossing the street safely and rely on the motorist to stop when directed.
- All drivers must stop when approaching a school bus that has activated its flashing red lights. The initial fine for illegally passing a school bus is $250, with repeat offenders facing increased fines, as well as license suspensions and revocations. Police will be strictly enforcing these laws.
- A child’s behavior can be unpredictable. Wait for school bus lights to stop flashing before beginning to move again.
- Be mindful that no vehicle may operate less than 100 feet behind a school bus.
“As students return to classes next month there will be increased pedestrian traffic near schools and bus stops,” Chief Alden said. “It is vital that motorists pay extra attention to young students that may be crossing the street or getting on or off a school bus.”
Pepperell, Townsend and Ashby Police are also urging parents and guardians to talk to their high school students about the dangers along Rt. 119. This is especially important in the area surrounding the school, where there is an increase of traffic flow, congestion and ongoing construction. Two police officers will be added in the morning and afternoons to assist the school crossing guard during the first week of school.
For more information on safety procedures, including stranger danger or pedestrian and bike safety, contact your local police department.