What you need to know before school starts

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OZARK, Mo. (KSPR) - Thursday school starts in some parts of the Ozarks, like Republic and Nixa, and that means drivers need to be careful. Watch out for kids crossing the roads or getting out of buses.

“You could take a life or change a life so fast just being in too much of a hurry," said father of three kids, Mike Land.

Mike Land wants to keep his kids and others safe.

"I would rather be late to work than know I hurt anybody on the way," Land stated.

His children range ten-years-old to ten–months-old and he knows sometimes they get distracted.

"Kids are not very aware of what is going around them sometimes. They get so focused on having fun that it's a little scary having them by the road sometimes because people just zip by," Land stated.

That is why it is important for you to pay attention. Something the Ozark Schools Director of Transportation, Donna Moulder, knows all too well.

"Life and death," Moulder said.

She still remembers when she was a bus driver and a car hit a student.

"It's been years ago, but we did have a child who was hit and killed. So, it's not like it hasn't happened," Moulder continued. "It just makes you sick. It really makes you think about your own children."

If you live in Ozark, there are three busy roads Moulder warns could be dangerous when school starts next week. They include at West South Street (in front of the school), at Highway NN, and the intersection of Highway NN and Jackson Street.

"There is a big concern. All of our officers will be monitoring the bus routes throughout this week. Maintaining safety around the kids," said Ozark Schools Deputy Sheriff, Steve Hoerning.

All ask you slow down and watch out for kids.

"They are our precious cargo. They are our future leaders. They're innocent and we don't want to see them hurt. Each one of these in Ozark is our kids,” Hoerning said.

"Our kids are our most treasured possessions and it would break my heart to think of something happening to them," Land stated.

Again do not speed through speed zones, especially during the specified hours. Give yourself extra time to get to work, so you and children can arrive safely.

Parents of teens driving to school also need to remind their kids of a few things before school starts: do not use your cell phone in the car or look down at the radio to adjust it. Also do not text and drive.

Texting while driving is against the law in Missouri if you are under the age of 22. However, in Arkansas, it is illegal for all drivers to text and drive.