Don’t expect Columbia police to rush to schools to direct bustling traffic on the first day of school Tuesday, the Columbia Police Department’s assistant chief says.
CPD simply doesn’t have the staff to direct traffic outside schools, Jill Schlude said in an interview with ABC 17 News.
“We’ll be inundated with calls from people saying, ‘you need to come down here and direct traffic,’ or that traffic is being blocked up and we just don’t have the capacity to do that,” Schlude said.
The CPD traffic unit only has two full-time officers. Drivers who must go near a school should build extra time into their schedules, she said.
Many of the issues faced by families with school-aged children stem from cellphones, Schlude said. That makes monitoring children’s phones important, she said.
“Harassment issues, things on social media, people saying things on social media, a lot of our fights in schools, the source is the cell phone,” Schlude said.
Parents also frequently contact police for help after finding drugs in their kids’ rooms. Schlude said the department will refer parents to the Family Access Center of Excellence on Ash Street, which has experience dealing with children and families’ mental health issues.