This year, Aug 25, marks the opening day of school for students in Charles County and Charles County Sheriff’s officers, school resource officers and crossing guards will be on hand to help ensure a safe return for all students. Officers will be patrolling in and around schools and watching for speeders and violators of the red flashing lights on school buses. Crossing guards will assist those students who cross busy roadways and school resource officers will be at their assigned schools ready to welcome students.
In addition, on Friday, August 29, as part of the We Care safe driving program for teens, school resource officers and county school staff will greet all high school drivers as they enter their school’s student parking lots and pass out fliers containing important information regarding teen driving and the rules of the road.
Seven years ago, an average of three to five teenagers died each year as a result of fatal car crashes in Charles County. “At one point, it seemed our county was being defined but these tragedies,” said Sheriff Rex W. Coffey. So, in the 2007/2008 school year – months after four young men lost their lives in a single car crash on Oliver Shop Road – Sheriff Coffey directed the Agency to come up with a plan aimed at reducing the number of crashes involving teens. Members of the sheriff’s office joined staff and students from the Charles County Public Schools and came up with a plan. In August 2008 – on the first day of school – the We Care teen safe driving campaign was introduced to teen drivers and their community. Since its inception, the Charles County Sheriff’s Office has seen a drastic decline in fatal car crashes involving teen drivers.
We Care promotes safe driving through a series of check points in school parking lots and school assemblies and other activities. Students create posters, develop public service announcements and help coordinate special events.
Members of the media are invited to see the We Care program first-hand at La Plata High School. In previous years, the program has been highlighted through media at North Point, Thomas Stone, Westlake, Henry Lackey and Maurice McDonough high schools. The program will also be introduced at the county’s newest high school, St. Charles.