When school starts, watch out or pay up
On Tuesday, drivers traveling in the morning will again encounter students heading to class and in school zones.
There are 55 school zones in the city, and each is staffed by at least one crossing guard.
St. Petersburg Fire and Rescue will have crews at many of these locations to remind motorists to drive carefully. Police officers with radar guns and ticket books will be there, too, so keep in mind that the fines for speeding in a school zone are hefty:
• 6-9 mph over the 15 mph limit results in a fine of $131.
• 10-14 mph over is $281.
• 15-19 mph over is $331.
• 20-29 mph over is $381.
If you drive 30 mph or more over the limit, you will receive a mandatory court appearance and a much stiffer fine.
As for school, attendance is mandatory for all children between the ages of 6 and 16. Florida law holds parents responsible for their children's attendance.
The South County Truancy Interdiction Center — 502-0151, www.stpetepal.org — works with the St. Petersburg Police Department, Police Athletic League, Pinellas County School Board and Family Resources to provide services to students and parents who need help with school attendance.
If anyone notices a school-age child loitering at shopping malls or convenience stores during the school day, please report it to the Police Department at 893-7780. Officers will take truants to the South County Truancy Interdiction Center, where a specialist will assess the situation and work with the student and the parents to remedy the problem.
William Proffitt, St. Petersburg Police spokesman