Sheriff Sam Craft of the Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office would like to remind citizens that school has begun in Vernon Parish

Motorists should allow themselves extra travel time and slow down when traveling through school zones.

You must stop at least thirty feet from a stopped school bus that is loading or unloading children. This is required by law whether you are meeting the bus or traveling behind it.

You do not have to stop when the bus is stopped in a loading zone completely off the roadway and where pedestrians are not allowed to cross the roadway. When a school bus is stopped in opposite lanes on a roadway separated by a ditch, grassy median, elevated concrete barrier or any obstacle that prevents traffic from driving thereon, you are not required to stop.

Drivers must stop for a stopped school bus when traveling on four lane or five lane roadways which are not separated by any barriers. When you have stopped, you must not proceed until the bus moves again or the visual warning signals are no longer in use.

Penalties for illegally passing a school bus or failure to yield for a school bus can carry fines up to $5000.

Sheriff Craft would also like to remind citizens to refrain from utilizing cellular phones and electronic devices in school zones.

Louisiana law prohibits the use of cellular devices in school zones and carries a $ 500.00 fine.

The Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office employs numerous School Resource Officers, all of whom receive specialized training regarding school safety.

Sheriff Craft met with School Resource Officers on Tuesday for an organizational meeting.

Sheriff Craft has assigned School Resource Officers to every school within Vernon Parish. The safety of our students and school faculty is of the utmost importance to the Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Craft would like to thank Vernon Parish School Board Superintendent James Williams, School Administrators, School Faculty, and the Parents of all Vernon Parish students for their support of the School Resource Officer Program.

Let’s all do our part to ensure that our children have a safe and happy school year.