Weeks into the school year might seem a little late to discuss student safety. On the contrary; it is after the heightened concern of the first several bus stop waits, street crossings and bike rides have passed, when students can become complacent or dulled by routine, that conversations about safety can be even more important.
KLRN-TV recently visited with the Sioux Falls Police Department about important reminders and tips for students and parents to stay safe and keep school zones free of accidents throughout the year. The video production can be seen here.
Here is a short list of reminders for parents and students:
When walking or biking to school, remember to use the crosswalks, and, as often as possible, cross where there is a traffic light. If you cannot cross safely at a traffic light, make sure you are looking for cars (left, right, left) AND watching for cars who may be turning onto the street you are about to cross.
Be careful at bus stops. Bus stops are not typically in school zones, so drivers may be traveling at dangerous speeds very close by, and your playful pushing of a buddy could cause him to trip into the street. Stay back from the curb so the bus driver can safely approach the stop and open the doors.
The speed limit in school zones is 15 miles per hour while children are present – this means throughout the school day … before, during and after school. Police routinely patrol school zones to remind drivers to slow down.
When dropping your child off at school, don’t stop in the middle of the street. If you must drop your child on the side of the street opposite the school, make sure they walk to a crosswalk before crossing the street.
Remind kids about the dangers of strangers. Make sure they know to ignore a stranger who tries to speak with them, and if a stranger approaches, kids need to run away and make as much noise as possible. Make sure your child has a safe place to go after school – a neighbor’s house, an active church or a friend’s house in case of an emergency.
Know where your child’s after-school plan. Police spend hundreds of hours each school year looking for “lost” kids who have gone to a friend’s house, but haven’t told their mom or dad. Develop a plan for communication and save yourself and the police department the unnecessary work and worry.
When walking or biking, pay attention to cars backing out of driveways. It’s easy to forget, especially during long walks to school, that people are in a hurry to get to work. Pay attention, stay safe.
Finally, make bus rides safe for everyone. The louder and more disruptive students are on the bus, the harder it is for the driver to concentrate on driving safely. If students can save their energy and shouts for the playground, everyone can stay safe.
Each child has a unique situation before and after school, so each parent or guardian should discuss concerns and make plans to help eliminate dangers for students.
Working together, we can make this a safe, successful school year.