School has officially begun for over 40,000 students in Meridian. With that many students, plus all of the faculty and administration, it’s important to be aware of the increased traffic on the roads, bikes on pathways, and pedestrians in school zones and at intersections.
To ensure everyone's safety, it's crucial to be mindful of our surroundings and exercise patience, especially in and around school zones. The Meridian Police Department recently shared some valuable back-to-school safety tips on social media. You can find the posts here, and I encourage everyone to take a look. Remember that school zones typically have a speed limit of 20 mph, so be prepared to slow down. Additionally, school buses make frequent stops for students, so always pay attention to flashing lights and stop for a bus with its stop sign arm extended, when applicable. Even though our city boasts over 50 miles of pathways and sidewalks, there are still areas where students will walk without a designated pathway. Therefore, please allocate extra time for your commute and remain vigilant for children, school buses, and school zones.
While most of this activity will occur during normal arrival and departure times, don’t forget about afterschool events and practices when you may also see students walking, biking or using some other mode of transportation into the evening as they make their way home. Additionally, some of the largest gatherings will take place on Friday nights at our local high schools where thousands of students, parents, and friends will gather. Some of you who travel to another school may or may not be as familiar with the roads or parking lots when you travel to an away game. Be careful to keep an eye on pedestrian and vehicle traffic – especially at the end of the games when the sun has set.
As your Mayor, I am committed to prioritizing the safety of our Meridian students. I am proud of the ongoing efforts the West Ada School District, our private/charter schools, and the Meridian Police Department take in safeguarding our young learners. The Meridian Police Department currently has 16 specifically trained School Resource Officers (SRO) dedicated to our schools, with five dedicated to our elementary schools. These efforts come with the great collaboration we have with the school administration teams and teachers. We all have the same goal, give every student a safe place to learn and thrive.
As parents and members of our community, now is a wonderful time to get involved with our schools. Joining the PTA, volunteering in classrooms, becoming a booster, attending sporting and entertainment events are all great ways to engage with the future of Meridian. Each school has its own process for getting involved and volunteering, so I encourage you to reach out to your student's school administration to learn more.
One of the most exciting parts of the back-to-school season is the return of regular Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council (MYAC) meetings. Over seventeen years, MYAC has provided our community’s high school students with an opportunity to learn about local government, develop leadership skills, and give back to the community through service projects. If you know a high school student who’s passionate about Meridian and wants to get involved, make a difference, and develop leadership skills, I encourage you to tell them to get involved by joining MYAC. The first meeting (an information meeting) will be held on Thursday, August 31, 6 - 8 PM at Wahooz (1385 S Blue Marlin Ln, Meridian, ID 83642). Parents and students are welcome at the meeting to learn more about MYAC, ask questions, and make new friends while bowling. You can learn more about MYAC here.
Lastly, it’s a good opportunity to remind all of us to continue to come together as a community and support our students. I plan to gather this Friday night to watch the Mountain View Mavericks take on the Meridian Warriors, so if you are looking for a way to cheer on the kids in our community, come out and join me. Ultimately, as our kids grow and learn during this school year, let’s be intentional and truly guide our young leaders. With that, I wish all students, teachers, and parents a tremendously successful school year ahead!