And so the school year has begun or will begin for many over the next day or so.

Teachers and staff have gone through their orientations, students (and parents) are experiencing those first-day jitters and yellow buses are rolling throughout the area.  It’s a stark reminder that lifestyles are changing dramatically and will so for the next 9 months or so.

For many waking up with some sort of an alarm clock will now become the norm and mornings are structured with the need to be in certain places at certain times with no exception.

School days are a bit different in 2019 as security and safety have taken center stage.  Uniformed police officers are no longer the exception but rather the rule and we hope and pray to avoid the horrible acts of violence that have left families, schools and communities shattered beyond repair around the country.

There is often no reason, no understanding and no explanation just horror and grief for innocent victims.

However while everyone has to be on their toes and know what to do in case something were to happen we cannot let it consume us because being in a school building is still a safe haven for most.  It’s a place where we watch small children grow and learn over a period of years and some even come back to work in that same building and district down the road.

For all the criticism that sometimes comes their way teachers are by and large among the greatest influences a young person will have and the overwhelming majority accept and embrace that responsibility.

Meanwhile with school in session drivers have to pay particular attention not just to the buses on the road but children who walk and ride bikes in local neighborhoods on their way to and from school.Take it slow and be on the lookout because often children are not looking for you.

Here’s hoping the 2019-20 school year will be a good one and most importantly a safe one in Ocean County.