School, student safety should be discussed

By: 
Ron Craig

Editor’s note: As research for the following article, Ron Craig spent part of a day with a school bus instructor for Lake Local Schools

This week, Lake Local Schools will begin another year of classes. Classes already began in some other area schools last week. Below are a few safety tips for students and parents that will help make the school year a safer experience.
Each parent and those who are responsible for a student need to take a few minutes to talk to students about school safety.
How to act properly while riding on a school bus is a good place to begin. Students should quickly get to a seat and stay seated until the bus comes to a stop. Students should use inside voices because the volume of so many students talking at once in loud tones can be distracting to the bus driver.
If a student must cross the road when he or she gets off the bus, the student should look to make sure traffic has stopped. There are far too many cases in which cars pass a stopped school bus.
Lake Schools bus instructor Steve Poiry, a former Lake Township police officer and school resource officer, said the drivers and students for his school are also taught other signals and procedures for students who must cross the roadways.
Poiry says picking up and dropping off students is the riskiest time for students and bus drivers. Students who must cross the road at drop-off are instructed to take 10 steps along the side of the road, then stop. Students are to look at the bus driver and wait for his hand to come down, then walk to the center of the road. Students are to look both ways to see if there is any moving traffic before quickly crossing to a designated area. Students are to stay there until the bus drives away.
Students should keep locks on lockers because they are solely responsible for what is in them. Students should not give out the combination to the lock, even to their best friends. If a school official finds contraband in a locker, the student assigned to that locker would be hard-pressed to convince someone they knew nothing about it.
If a confrontation occurs at school, the smart student walks away from it before it develops into a physical situation. Students should be encouraged to be the better person in such situations.
One of the most important student safety topics that has arisen in recent years regards bullying and cyberbullying.
Back when I was growing up, those terms did not exist, at least in my world. If I complained to my dad about being picked on, he would just tell me to “man up.” That doesn’t work these days.
What has made bullying and cyberbullying so important now is the number of teen and even pre-teen suicides and suicide attempts. This topic can no longer be sluffed off and treated as another part of growing up, due to the potential for a tragic ending. Like it or not, kids are more sensitive these days.
Cyberbullying is accomplished through social media, texting, and email, just to name a few examples of how cyberbullying is carried out. It is also something that can be done after the school day is over, so it is of particular concern to parents
Each case of bullying and cyberbullying is different, and there is no one solution for all instances. A parent who has learned his or her youngster is a target should seek assistance from a professional, such as a trusted teacher, a guidance counselor, or school resource officer. Other sources are also available outside of school.
Student safety is a serious topic, one that should be discussed between all parents and their youngsters.

This article is a public service from the Community Policing/Crime Prevention Division of the Lake Township Police Department. Township residents may obtain further information on crime prevention and public safety topics by contacting Ron Craig, crime prevention specialist/community policing officer, at 419-481-6354.

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