A plethora of social media posts from proud Region parents remind us school is back in session for most Northwest Indiana children.

That fact also should serve as a reminder for vigilance while driving past or near school zones and buses.

It's easy during summer months to drive just a little faster past Region schools, realizing children aren't present.

But a new school year has begun, requiring adherence to reduced speed zones near schools and begging for strict enforcement from police officers.

Children are our most precious resource. Driving through a school zone at speeds any faster than the limits means you're jeopardizing innocent lives.

Vigilance also is required outside of actual school zones.

The beginning of school means students also are walking to and from school in force through many community neighborhoods, crossing streets and not always exercising care.

As adults, we must be alert for their safety.

School buses also are again a staple of our local roads and highways.

Slow down, be patient and obey the flashing lights and signals on these modes of transportation for our school children. Impatiently passing a school bus with an extended stop sign or flashing lights isn't just illegal — it's immorally dangerous.

The LaPorte County Sheriff's Department reports one of the biggest complaints it receives during the school year is drivers refusing to stop for an extended school bus stop arm.

The only exception for not stopping under such circumstances is when a bus is on the opposite side of a divided highway, the sheriff recently reminded us.

Otherwise, violators are subject to arrest and can be charged with a class B misdemeanor.

“Every year we receive numerous complaints of speeding vehicles, particularly in school zones. It is the responsibility of drivers to obey the traffic laws which are in place to make all of our children safer,” LaPorte County Sheriff John Boyd said in a recent press release. “Beginning this week, our deputies will aggressively work the bus routes and schools zones in an effort to curb violations."

All Region police departments should show the same vigilance to discourage unsafe driving near our children's places of learning.

Region parents send their children to school with a reasonable expectation for their safety. It's up to all of us to make the expectation a reality.

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