As the autumn season brings about some of favorite times and traditions including homecoming, trick or treat, Election Day, Thanksgiving and more, it also reminds us that time fall back. Safe routes to school are a concern for all of us. We all want our children to be safe as they travel to and from school, especially when it’s darker. See tips below on how to ensure that children are safe during this season.
Parent and Community Patrols
I always recommend to schools and communities to have parents and community members volunteer to be a cross walks near the school, especially on major streets, and at the bus stops. In the fall season, many children are up before 6 a.m. at arriving at bus stops as early as 6:20 a.m. To prevent accidents and unwanted tragedies, having parents and community leaders/members present always helps reassure safety. City, county and school districts have volunteer training programs available for those interested in this. Neighborhood associations/groups can go through neighborhood watch trainings. The key to ensure safety is presence, communication methods and having procedures in place.
Day Light Savings
As a resource, Science teachers can create lessons on Day Light Savings. Lessons connecting to other curriculums and family engagement could include assignments on creating safety tips, developing safety plans and providing ways on how to handle danger. As time falls back and the seasons change, it’s important for schools and communities to review and set norms on when to play outside, where to walk and be, reminders about stray animals, playing in the streets, etc.
A good way to connect Social Studies is to have students led petitions, video and essay contests about why safe routes to schools are needed. Schools can utilize family and community engagement teams to do grant writing, research and to set up meetings with elected officials to come to the school and speak with stakeholders. School districts can set up safety walks to review bus routes, bus stops and paths children use to walk to and from school.
Schools can partner with their local police force and city council representative to create community wide safety campaigns that bring awareness to child abduction, pedestrian rights, sex trafficking stats, gang prevention tips, etc.
Children who walk, bike, travel on public transportation, etc are at greater risk of falling victim to child adduction, pedestrian tragedies sex trafficking violators and gang initiators. Being proactive and creating teachable moments help to change this .Most importantly, it helps ensure that our children are safe.