Weekly Feature

2017-09-07 / Editorial

Youth safety should be a priority every school year

Bee Editorial

With the school year under way, we should take it upon ourselves as responsible parents and citizens to be more mindful of the physical safety of children within these first few hectic weeks.

Children should have a safe place to wait for their bus, away from traffic and the street. Whenever possible, children should walk to the bus stop with an adult or friend. Drivers are required to follow certain rules of the road concerning school buses, but not all do.

Younger children should not wear pants or jackets with long drawstrings that could become caught in the bus door. It is of vital importance for parents to talk to their children about the danger of listening to an iPod or playing a handheld video game while walking to school or the bus stop. This can distract them from their surroundings. It may seem obvious, but children and pedestrians should never walk behind a bus because the bus driver may not know they are there. Anyone driving a car must also exercise caution around school buses and school zones. When backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage, watch out for children walking or bicycling to school. Follow the reduced speed limit signs when approaching a school. Drivers must slow down for school zones between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. weekdays unless alternative times are indicated on the signs.

Additionally, drivers in Lancaster and Depew must be wary of driving through school zones that may not yet have any indication that a school is nearby. Sciole Elementary, for example, is set in the middle of a residential area, and it isn’t immediately clear that there’s a school hidden between homes on Alys Drive and Airview Terrace. Be alert to the lights on a bus. Yellow flashing lights indicate that the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should also slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles. Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate that the bus has come to rest and that children are getting on or off. Again, motorists must also stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop sign is withdrawn and the bus begins moving.

Those of us who are not educators or parents should also make an effort to act as positive role models for the youth in our community.

Consider the way you interact with children at your job, at the store, park, library, doctor’s office, etc. By taking an interest in what children are doing, we can encourage positive social skills and discourage behaviors such as bullying.

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