Motorists, parents reminded to use caution, be aware of children as they return to school in NESD

School Resource Officer Mark Riggle monitors the parking lot and drop-off area at Davis Primary on the first day of school. -photo by Tracy Jones

Parking lots have been nearly empty and hallways have been quiet in North East School District - - but that changed Tuesday when classes resumed for the 2011-2011 school year.

Dr. Jennifer Ritter, Principal at E.C. Davis Primary School greeted students and their parents Tuesday morning, making even the most nervous children feel welcome. Dr. Ritter replaces Tim Welsh, who retired this past August.

Meanwhile, Robert Schodt took Ritter’s place as Assistant Principal at North East Middle School.

One of the biggest differences Ritter faced immediately was an obvious one – little people. After more than a decade working with sixth, seventh and eighth graders she now will oversee a school full of six, seven and eight-year olds. And their safety is one of her biggest concerns.

“We really want people to take extra caution,” Ritter said. The speed limit is 15 miles per hour on North East School District property all the time – not just during school hours.

Ritter also urges parents dropping children off and picking them up to be patient as they wait in the line of cars.

“The line will go quickly; it just seems long,” she said. “What’s a minute or two when you might hit a child? Patience is the key and barricades are there for a reason.” Children on bicycles and small children on foot can be hard to see between cars.

A North East Police Department cruiser and school resource officer Mark Riggle from the Erie County Sheriff’s Department were stationed at Davis Primary during drop-off and pick-up times at Davis Primary to visibly remind motorists to slow down.

When visiting any of the NESD schools, all visitors are required to sign in at the office and obtain a pass.

“We do this at all buildings – don’t be offended if you’re asked who you are,” said Ritter. “We’re just trying to keep kids safe.”

Ritter also asks parents to remind their kids to use crosswalks and crossing guards, especially in areas that are not within school zones.

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