Rep. Arnold: What we can do to keep our students safe

Posted by: Peter Hoffman  | Monday, August 15, 2016

Another school year is underway for students, parents and educators across Indiana. Our house is now quieter with our sixth-grader, two high school sophomores and college freshman all heading back to the classroom. My wife also returned to school as the librarian, which I always admire, even if it does leave me feeling a bit left out.

We can all take extra steps to ensure our students are safe throughout the school year.

Getting to and from school is the period of highest risk for school-age students. It’s important everyone knows that state law requires motorists to stop when a school bus is picking up or dropping off children. It’s always a good idea to remind first-time drivers to look out for school buses with their stop arms extended and red lights flashing, which means drivers from all directions must stop. This law applies to all roadways, unless it’s divided by a physical median barrier. Also, look out for increased pedestrian traffic and posted speed limits in school zones. Remember, children, despite our best efforts, don’t always look both ways before crossing the street. That’s why it’s especially important to not be distracted and obey the speed limit, particularly in school zones and neighborhoods.

Additionally, high school and college students need to be aware of Indiana’s Lifeline Law. It provides immunity from underage drinking, public intoxication, minor in possession and other similar crimes to persons seeking first responder assistance help for themselves or for others. The main goal of this law is to encourage all Hoosiers to get help if they or someone they are with is in serious danger, regardless of the circumstances. Although minors should not consume alcohol until the legal age of 21, no one’s life should be risked for fear of being penalized for underage drinking.

This immunity also applies to those who use the new text to 911 option. Indiana is among the first in the nation to extend this service to every one of its counties as of last month. Though calling 911 is always preferred, this new capability allows dispatchers to more easily follow up on 911 hang-ups. It has also been proven to assist those in danger or fearful of making a voice call.

I wish students and educators of all grade levels the best of luck as they tackle another school year.

As always, please contact me with questions or input at 317-232-9793 or by email at h74@iga.in.gov. Learn more about the work being done at the Statehouse by signing up to receive my email updates at www.in.gov/h74.

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State Rep. Lloyd Arnold (R-Leavenworth) represents portions of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford and Orange counties.

A high-resolution photo of Arnold can be downloaded by clicking here.