New law set to keep students safer during drop off and pickup

Published: Aug. 3, 2023 at 5:55 PM CDT
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DERIDDER, La. (KPLC) - Students will be heading back to school in just a matter of days, and a new law signed this year could make it a little safer for students entering and leaving schools in the carpool line.

The new law took effect Tuesday, Aug. 1, and will be enforced at all schools across the state.

A safe path to learning is what the Safe Path from School Act is intended to provide.

“Of course, education is the most important thing that we do, but safety has to be paramount,” Beauregard Parish Assistant Superintendent Cord Ensminger said.

Ensminger told 7News the act doesn’t change much of what they’re already doing in the school district.

“We’re pretty much in compliance with the law,” he said. “We will put up signage to complete that part.”

All the requirements for the new law make sure students - geared toward those in fifth grade and below - are safe during the time spent between the school building to their vehicle of transportation.

It requires students to remain behind a barrier before entering a pickup area. The law prohibits students from entering the pickup area until the vehicle is in park.

“We seat the students in a cafeteria or a hallway, and they have two-way radios,” Ensminger said. “The administrator on duty calls in whichever cars are lined up.”

The law would now require employees working the pickup line to wear a vest and escort students under the age of 10 walking to and from a car.

“We have staff members that make sure that each child gets in the correct car and the car’s in park and they’re safely in the car, the doors closed and they’re safely restrained before the car enters back on the public roadway,” Ensminger said.

As school is set to start back up and roads will be busier, Ensminger wants to remind all drivers to watch out for crossing guards and students and to obey school bus stop signs.