Parents and Teachers,
Welcome back to another exciting school year! As students learn new subjects and calendars fill up with after-school activities, remember to keep school safety a top priority.
Did you know that according to the National Institute of Justice, instances of theft, violent crime and student homicides have declined in grades K-12? This is thanks to the dedicated school faculty and vocal parents that strive to make each year safer than the last. Although school safety is improving year after year, there are always areas of opportunity.
We’re sure you already know a lot about the obvious school safety rules, but what about the lesser-known ones? Unfortunately, not everyone knows when it’s appropriate to stop for a school bus, what the right speed limit is for certain school zones, or how to identify cyberbullying. We know, there’s a lot to digest and that’s why we’re here to help! We’re calling class in session for these school safety reminders.
Question: Do you know when to stop for a school bus?
If you’ve accidentally passed a school bus as they were stopping for children, you may already know how unsafe it is and how costly that fine may be. Laws vary from state to state on specifics, so make sure you understand your state laws before the first day of school. We can guarantee you though, that in all 50 states it is illegal to pass a school bus that has signaled with flashing lights that it is stopped to load or unload children.
- Even when the school bus is not stopping for students, remember to allow a greater following distance than if you were behind a regular vehicle.
- Slow down and stop your vehicle once the yellow and red lights start flashing on the bus.
If you’re confused about any rules of the road, we recommend is visiting your state’s department of safety or department of education website for more information on these laws. Yes, we know you can drive, but you’re never too old to learn a thing or two.
Question: What are the general rules related to school zone speed limits?
This is a simple one. When the speed limit sign is flashing, drive at or below the speed limit posted for that school zone! And please, focus on driving and not what’s on your phone. Speed limits in school zones vary from state to state and depend on geographic areas. Our best piece of advice is to familiarize yourself with your route to and from school and see if you pass through school zones along the way.
Have you driven your car but didn’t remember the drive? Being a zombie on the road isn’t a good thing when a child can dart in front of your car in an instant. So pay attention when you’re behind the wheel and stay alert when going through school zones.
For Teachers and Faculty: Staying Safe on Campus
Teachers, we are confident that the safety procedures and drills practiced at your school help make your school a safer place.
However, there are additional steps you can take to make your school even safer. Have you noticed rocks or clutter propping doors open that should be shut? What do you do when students get access to areas of the school they shouldn’t be?
While it might not happen at your school, these two instances are more common than you think. To help, we put together a list of 13 commonly overlooked security checks.
For Bullying and Cyberbullying in Schools
When you first think about school safety, bullying might not be top of mind. Unfortunately, over 70% of young people have seen bullying occur in their schools and 15% of high school students grades 9-12 have been bullied electronically, according to StopBullying.gov. These numbers are high!
There is still a lot that can be done to reduce the impact of bullying in schools, and you can make schools safer by helping your child or student understand what bullying looks like. As much as students might roll their eyes about this topic and say everything is fine, be sure to encourage them to talk with an adult they trust about a bullying incident.
Here are signs a child is being bullied:
- Declining grades or not wanting to go to school
- Changes in eating habits, like binge eating or not eating
Here are signs a child is bullying others:
- Increased concern with popularity or school reputation
- Receiving detentions or referrals for behavior
- Having friends who bully others
Certain groups at school are more likely to be targeted in bullying instances and overtime bullying can impact a student’s mental health. With this in mind, we encourage you to keep the line of communication open with children and serve as a role model to students so that they know how to treat others with respect.
As we wrap up today’s lesson on school safety reminders, talk with your child or students about the responsibilities that come with starting a new school year. Remind them about how they can play a role in the safety of the school. Don’t forget, safety is everyone’s job.