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Area officials say new year off to good start

Carrying book bags and leaving cellular phones in their cars orat home, Lincoln County students returned to school today.

“We’re off to a good start,” said Brookhaven School DistrictSuperintendent Lea Barrett. “The flatbed semi pulled in and droppedoff the seniors at the front door, so they’re all here. That’s onemorning down and 179 to go.”

The students seemed excited to return and mingled in the hallsrenewing some friendships, Barrett said. Their excitement mirroredthat of the staff of the district, she said.

“There’s a high level of enthusiasm and among the staff andmorale is high,” Barrett said.

In the Lincoln County School District, principals were holdingassemblies to inform students of new rules for the new year.

Cellular phones have been banned on campuses in Lincoln andLawrence counties this year, although policies and the severity ofpunishment for violations vary.

In Lawrence County, where students returned last Wednesday,Superintendent Russell Caudill said “things went well.”

In addition to a strict no cell phone policy, Lawrence Countystudents are also required to wear uniforms according to a newpolicy that took effect this year.

The relatively loose uniform policy requires students to wearone-color collared shirts of red, white or blue without logos orslogans, pants that are khaki, brown or black; and prohibitsdenim.

“We didn’t have a problem with that,” Caudill said. “Thestudents responded well to it.”

Area transportation directors are reminding the public that thereturn of students of schools means the return of school buses topublic roads.

It is a crime to pass a stopped school bus unloading or loadingchildren, said Steve Huey, transportation director for cityschools.

“We still have a problem with people not respecting school busesand the potential of endangering the children,” said Bruce Falvey,county schools transportation director. “They need to understandthat by the time they see someone, it may be too late. Nothingshould be so important that you endanger the life of a child.”

The directors also urged parents to teach travel safety at home,with an emphasis on children staying in their seats and keepinghands and heads inside the bus at all times.

“The driver needs to be concentrating on the road, not on thebehavior of the children,” Falvey said.

Huey agreed. He said students “seem to think after a full day inthe classroom they can let loose on the school bus, but really theyneed to exercise more caution because now they’re in a movingvehicle.”

In Franklin County, some students began school today, but themajority of students will return tomorrow, according to a districtspokesperson.