Schools across the valley are already in session. As students start attending classes again parents shouldn’t focus on just their children’s grades and homework, because there’s more to safety than just warning children to beware of strangers.
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The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department offers a number of helpful safety tips for parents and children to help them recognize bullying and potentially dangerous situations. When students are prepared for the experiences they will face at school each day, it helps to create a safer school environment.
Getting to School
- Parents should give themselves plenty of time as they and their children adjust to the new school schedule.
- Map out a safe way for children to walk to school or to the bus stop.
- Work with other parents in the neighborhood to ensure that children in the neighborhood are supervised closely to and from school.
- Work with neighbors and children on identifying “safe houses” in the neighborhood–homes where the children are familiar and can ask for help if need be.
- Point out places they should avoid such as vacant lots, alleyways and construction areas.
- Encourage children to use the “buddy system.”
- Teach children to never speak to strangers or go anywhere with a stranger, and let them know its okay to report if a stranger tries to approach them.
- Teach children to always be aware of their surroundings. Be aware of slow moving vehicles or parked vehicles that appear to be occupied. Choose a different route or walk on the opposite side of the street.
- Children need to pay attention to traffic signals and use crosswalks with a crossing guard if available.
- Make sure children arrive at least five minutes early for the bus.
- Make sure children know to stand on the sidewalk while waiting for the bus
- Teach children to make sure the bus driver can see them before walking in front of the bus, and to never walk behind a bus.
- Be aware that bullying often happens on the bus. Ask children about their bus rides, who they sit with and what goes on in the bus. Encourage them to report any bullying behavior.
- Have children check in with an adult as soon as they get home.
- Show them how to properly lock all doors and windows
- Make sure they know to never open a door to a stranger.
- Establish a set of rules; who can come over, when homework must be done and any chores they must do.
- Find a trusted neighbor who will allow them to come over in case of an emergency.
- Establish strict rules regarding Internet usage.
- Teach children to resolve problems without fighting.
- Encourage children to report bullying behavior, either as a victim or a witness.
- Ask school officials about the safety and emergency plans for the school. All schools are required to have one.
- Listen to children and encourage them to talk about their day.
- Take all complaints about bullying seriously, or children may not want to talk about it next time.
- Watch for symptoms such as withdrawal, a drop in grades or new friends.
- Notify the school immediately if you think a child is being bullied.
- Praise children when they are kind to others.
- Teach children self- protection skills: how to walk and talk confidently, stay alert to their surroundings and to stand up for themselves verbally.
- Report it to law enforcement if someone suspicious is near the school.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children also offers tips about online safety for parents to discuss with their children.
To report non-emergency crime tips, call the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station at 661-255-1121 or contact Los Angeles Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), by texting to CRIMES (274637) or online.
Do you have a news tip? Call us at (661) 298-1220, or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Santa Clarita News