Richland County, SC (WLTX) - Fourteen school districts welcomed their students back on Monday, with the remaining districts opening over the next two days.
As students go back to school, law enforcement is stressing the importance of transportation safety.
"There's a lot of excitement in the air, excitement about starting the new year, excitement about wearing new clothes and seeing friends and things like that," said Lieutenant Verlon Rhodes with the School Resource Officer's Division. "We try to tell these kids, look, you need to calm down and take a moment to realize the importance of how you must arrive to school."
Multiple districts have teamed up the Richland County Sheriff's Office to ensure kids are as safe as possible.
Sheriff Leon Lott says there is zero tolerance for passing a stopped school bus and speeding in a school zone, something Sergeant Michael Pearson says is posted for a reason.
"It's not just for children crossing the road, but it's also to remind people because we get concerns that the school is so far away from the road, it's also because you've got traffic going in and out of the school," said Sgt. Pearson. "It's to slow that traffic so buses can safely go in and out, and the parents can safely go in and out of the school with their children."
Also posted around the school are drop off arrows for parents who choose to drive their children themselves. Richland District Two Superintendent Dr. Debbie Hamm reminds parents to only use those designated areas.
"Watch for the spots that are marked as the drop off spots, don't drop your child off someplace else," said Dr. Hamm. "That endangers them, either because there's going to be more traffic there or people just don't think of that as the place to be watching out for children."
In order to be on high alert, Sheriff Lott and school officials ask parents and students to keep their eyes off of their phones and on the roads at all times.