Your student faces danger even on the way to the bus stop. Here are some helpful tips that you review with your child:
Role-play with your children how someone might approach them to offer candy, ask for help or ask if they'd like to meet a "new puppy." Teach your children to say a firm "no" and walk away.
Remind children that strangers look like normal people, not monsters.
Tell children not to approach a motor vehicle is someone beckons them for directions. Tell them adults do not need directions from children.
Create a code word to use with your children so they will know when a message is from you.
If someone follows your child, the child should scream loudly and run away. If someone tries to grab your child, the child should fall to the ground and kick and scream. The child should make as much noise as possible to attract attention.
Tell your child to tell you is someone has asked them to keep a secret from you.
Children have very good instincts. They should trust a feeling that tells them whether something is safe.
Getting ready for school
Have your children put everything they carry in a backpack or school bag so they won't drop things along the way.
Have them wear bright, contrasting colors so they will be seen by drivers
Make sure they leave home on time so they can walk to the bus stop and arrive before the bus is due. Running can be dangerous. Tell your students to never run behind or beside the bus.
Walking to the bus stop
Go to the bus stop with a young child and have older siblings walk in groups. There is safety in numbers because groups are easier for drivers to see.
Don't let pre-school children or pets go with your child to the bus stop. They can be in danger near traffic.
Practice good pedestrian behavior:
If you must walk in the street, walk single file, face traffic and stay as close to the edge of the road as you can.
Stop and look left, right and then left again if you must cross the street. Do the same thing at driveways and alleys. Exaggerate your head turns and narrate your actions so your child knows you are looking left, right and left.
Waiting at the bus stop
Don't let your child play running games or push and shove at the bus stop. It is too dangerous near traffic.
Make sure your child waits at least 10 feet (5 giant steps) from the road while waiting for the bus. The child will then be out of the way of traffic. Have younger children practice taking 5 giant steps to become familar with 10 feet.
If your child misses the bus, please do not drive them to another stop. The driver will not be expecting them at that stop and may start to drive away as the student is running to the bus. Please take them in to school.
If your child is late to their assigned bus stop, please do not let the student run after the bus to try and catch it. The child could be injured if they are in the "danger zone".
Report suspicious activity
On occasion children see something they consider odd or suspicious during the school day. Instruct your children to immediately inform school authorities of any criminal or suspicious activity they may witness. Informing your local police department or school about each incident can prove helpful in dealing with these situations, and may help resolve a potential problem.
Safety at home
It is important to have a plan in place for your children to follow if they get home from school and no adult is home. You should have a list of emergency phone numbers available for your child. These should be numbers of people they know and can call either for advice, or during emergencies. You should also have a well-defined list of what your children can and cannot do when they are home alone. Some topics you should consider making rules about are:
Are they allowed to leave the house? If so, where are they allowed to go?
Are they allowed to have anyone come into the house? If so, whom?
What cooking appliances or electrical equipment may they use?
What should they say when they answer the phone and someone asks to speak to a parent who is not home?
Certain types of children's clothing can create a hazard as your child gets off the school bus. Especially dangerous are:
Long, dangling jacket or sweatshirt drawstrings
Straps, sashes, or belts that hang loosely
Long backpack straps
Long scarves or other loose clothing
Such clothing can be caught in the bus handrail, door or other equipment as the child gets off the bus. In recent years, a number of children across the U.S. have had their clothing caught as they exited the bus.
Tips for Motorists
Be especially careful when driving on neighborhood streets and around school zones, always expect the UNEXPECTED.
Be alert for youngsters walking to and from school as you back out of your driveway or leave your garage.
We want school children to be safe. Watch for them on bicycles, expecially at intersections and driveways. Young bicyclists have a tendency to dart out of driveways without looking for traffic.
School Bus Law
When approaching a vehicle which displays a sign bearing the words SCHOOL BUS and which is equipped with front and rear alternating flashing RED signal lamps which are flashing and the vehicle is stopped to allow pupils to alight from or board, a person operating a vehicle shall, except when approaching from the opposite direction on a divided highway, bring the vehicle to a FULL STOP before reaching the school bus and shall not proceed until the warning lights are deactivated, unless directed by a police officer duly authorized to control the movement of traffic. Any person who violates the provisions of this law SHALL be fined not less than two hundred dollars ($200). A second or third subsequent conviction shall be reported forthwith by the court to the registrar who shall revoke immediately the license or right to operate a motor vehicle.
School bus drivers do have the authority to turn in your license number to the police and you can get a ticket from the driver's referral!