Back to school safety

Posted by: Jessica Baker  | Thursday, August 6, 2015

With the beginning of school here, some of us preparing to get our kids back into the groove of early mornings, after school activities and all the other facets of adjusting to a new schedule. With these changes to our daily routine, it is important to also remember some back to school safety tips, especially with buses in our morning commute and more children out and about.

The Indiana State Police (ISP) has issued several back to school safety tips to keep your kids safe, and I wanted to share some of those with you, beginning with guidelines for motorists. First of all, state law requires that all motorists stop for a school bus when their stop arm is extended and red lights are flashing. However, if you are on a roadway with a divider, only vehicles driving the same way as the bus are required to stop. When you are driving by a school zone, please remember to slow down, follow all reduced/posted speed limits and keep an eye out for children.

While these tips are important for motorists, I also encourage parents, who have young students that ride the bus, to have a conversation with them and discuss some additional precautions. To keep them from dropping their belongings on the way to the bus stop, have them put everything they will need for the day in their backpack or school bag. On that note, if they do drop something near the bus, let them know that they should alert the bus driver and follow the bus driver’s directions.

If at all possible, try to set up a way for neighborhood kids to walk together to the bus stop; groups are easier to spot for drivers. If there is no sidewalk and they have to walk in the street, remind them to walk single file and face traffic while staying as close to the edge of the road as possible. Standing at the school bus stop can get boring, but please insist that they do not run around or play any shoving games while they wait for the bus and to remain about three giant steps from the road.

Most importantly, remind your child to look to the right before they step off the bus. Some drivers who are in a hurry try to sneak by buses on the right. It is also important that students wait for the bus driver to signal that it is safe for them to cross the street. Hopefully, these tips will help your child stay safe while they are getting to and from the classroom, and for additional safety measures outlined by ISP, please visit www.in.gov/isp/2888.htm.

I hope that your children have enjoyed their summer vacation and are transitioning back into the school year with ease. As an educator, I always look forward to the start of school and seeing all the new faces in the halls.

As always, feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns at (317) 232-9816 or H76@iga.in.gov.

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Rep. McNamara (R-Mount Vernon) represents portions of Posey and Vanderburgh counties. She serves as the Vice Chair of Courts and Criminal Code Committee and is a member of Government and Regulatory Reform Committee, Judiciary Committee and the Select Committee on Government Reduction Committee.