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Back to school safety tips parents and kids need to know

two kids standing in front of their school bus
Andrey Sinenkiy
Remember to stop for school buses picking up and dropping off children.

Most Central Florida school districts celebrate the first day of school August 10. Volusia County Schools started on Monday.

Ahead of the new school year, Orange County officials are sharing safety tips for families.

Chief of District Police Bryan Holmes said with the frequency of gun violence in schools, kids and parents should report any threats they see online.

“Go with your gut on this, okay? Don't overthink it. If it's time-sensitive and constitutes an emergency, dial 911 and report it immediately," said Holmes. "Better to be safe than sorry and having to live with that regret when an act of violence could have been prevented.”

Holmes says if a person is scared for their safety, they can anonymously report a threat of a mass shooting or other gun violence at Fortify Florida.

Even though the state of Florida has legalized permitless carry, weapons and firearms are still not allowed on public school campuses.

On another safety front, Orange County Schools Transportation Services Senior Director Bill Wen says everyone should remember to slow down in general, and to stop for buses at pickup and drop-off times.

Wen also said for the youngest riders, make sure to add the following to their backpacks:

“Please if you can put their name and address and if you have the bus route number to put that in there. That's usually a four-digit number and a good contact phone number," said Wen. "That way during the first week of school, if your child doesn’t remember their address, we can call you to let you know and get the information so we can get them home safely.”

The districtis currently looking to hire more bus drivers, and teachers. Bus routes have been adjusted for the second year in a row to handle shortages.

And about 3.2 percent of teaching positions in the district are still unfilled. Watch the full safety conference here.

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter and fill-in host at WMFE.
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