Public Safety Alert: Children at Play

In one more sign of the changing season, today is the last day of school for most Island public schools (the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School had its last day yesterday.) The familiar yellow buses that roll on Island roads early in the morning and again in the afternoon throughout the fall, winter and spring, are ready for decommissioning as transportation vehicles for our most precious resource — Vineyard school children. At least until just after Labor Day.

Working Islanders who commute between towns know well the schedules of the school buses and incorporate them into their daily lives. Anyone who leaves for work at about eight fifteen in the morning knows the drive will likely be interrupted by the flashing lights of a school bus at one or more points along the way. For most this interruption is not at all unpleasant but rather a moment to pause before a hectic day at the office, as children of all ages climb onto the bus, packs on backs, iPod wires dangling from ears. Parents wave goodbye before rushing home to head out for their own day of work. There is something comforting and familiar about the scene, like hot oatmeal on a cold morning.

But the cold mornings are gone these days, replaced by misty fog at breakfast time — and now school is out for summer.

And for the next two and a half months motorists should be on the alert for children at play and on bicycles along Island roadsides. As the old bumper sticker says: slow down, you’re not off-Island anymore. It will go a long way toward keeping our children safe.