General Safety Information
The primary cause of anxiety for many parents today is protecting their children from acts of violence at school. In general, parents and school officials are concerned about preventing children from becoming either aggressors or victims.
What is being done to ensure my child's safety in school?
Despite the extraordinary media coverage of violence in our schools, students are safer there than in any other place except their homes. Still, school officials recognize the potential threats to the safety of children attending school and school-related activities. Many are seeking ways to help school personnel control the school environment more effectively and to be more visible and available to students who need better guidance. In some districts, for example, drivers of school vehicles must complete rigorous training in managing student behavior, as well as operating their vehicles safely. In addition, more school districts are requiring routine drug screening for vehicle operators and are training school personnel in crisis management and violence intervention. Other violence-reduction strategies include:
- Teaching prevention skills: Students are being taught mediation skills (problem solving and communication) and ways to handle their emotions--especially anger--without hurting others. These skills will help them avoid potentially dangerous situations. Students are also being taught "safe" behaviors, such as doing activities in groups, alerting school personnel if a stranger is on school grounds, and reporting situations that threaten other students' safety.
- Providing alternatives to gangs: School districts and communities are working together to offer students alternatives to gang membership, including activities that build self-esteem and help students deal with feelings of powerlessness. Strategies include providing special assistance to students who are at risk of gang membership, creating an atmosphere that fosters a sense of belonging in all students, informing parents and school staff about gangs (and teaching students how to avoid being drawn into them), and giving students regular opportunities to discuss school experiences and to plan for future successes and rewards.
- Improving school designs: As school buildings are constructed and old ones are renovated, safety has become an essential element of their design. In new schools, office areas are now centrally located for easy accessibility from other locations in the building or campus. Hallways have convenient exits and are well lit. Dead-end hallways and staircase hideaways have been eliminated, and restrooms are located closer to administrators to prevent students from hanging out.
- Monitoring visitors carefully: Schools are becoming more assertive in screening visitors, requiring them to register when entering the building or campus and by employing security personnel. Schools can be both secure and friendly by requesting visitors to check in rather than report to the office. Registered visitors are given a pass or badge to display prominently to let staff and students know that they have been acknowledged by the administration. Staff and students are instructed to report people without proper identification to a school administrator. In addition, many schools now ask that parents give the names of adults who are allowed to pick up a child, and require those individuals to show identification to school personnel when signing a student out.
How can I help my child practice safe behavior?
Parents can teach their children safe behaviors before enrolling them in school. Children who know the appropriate action to take in a given situation are less likely to expose themselves to danger. The following are safe behaviors to teach your child:
- Not talking to strangers: This warning is more important today than ever before. Encourage your children to get to know school staff other than their teachers and get acquainted with them yourself. Familiarity helps children recognize adults who don't belong, as well as adults who can offer help when needed. As a plus, children will also learn that the school staff are their friends and more than just rule enforcers.
- Taking safety in numbers: Encourage your children to stay close to friends and to walk in groups in school hallways. Suggest that they limit their restroom visits to recess and breaks and use facilities located in high-traffic areas or in areas more likely to be visited by staff.
- Choosing friends carefully: Encourage your children to avoid students who do not handle anger effectively. Ask your children to be particularly careful with classmates who bring weapons to school and to report any such incidents to their teachers.
Adapted from "The Art of Safe School Planning" by Ronald Stephens in the February 1996 issue of The School Administrator.
Message To the Parents:
The Galena Park Independent School District exists to enable each student to receive the best education possible. We have set high standards for all our employees --from the classroom teacher to the school bus driver. Each day we transport thousands of students to and from school. Safety is a prime consideration. The driver of a school bus carries a real burden of responsibility. It is essential that students cooperate by observing safety guidelines. Your enthusiastic cooperation is essential for your child to benefit from the safest possible transportation in order to receive an outstanding education in our schools.
School Bus Safety and Discipline
Each principal is responsible for carrying out a school bus safety program and has jurisdiction over the conduct of students while they are being transported. Students must be made aware of the following school bus safety procedures.
All students are to be instructed in and are to observe the following safety precautions:
- While walking to and waiting for the bus,
- Take the safest route to assigned bus stop
- Arrive at the bus stop no more than ten minutes prior to loading bus
- Wait in a safe place off the main street
- Remain in the assigned loading area maintaining an orderly behavior
- Wear bright clothes if there is snow, rain, or fog
- Stand back from the street or road and give the bus driver room to stop
- Trespass on private property or litter
- Play in the street or roadway
- Sit on the curb
- Run toward a moving bus as it approaches the bus stop or loading zone at the school
- When boarding the bus, and before crossing the street or road,
- Check the traffic in both directions
- Wait until the bus driver signals to cross
- Walk in front of the waiting bus
- Form a single line as the bus approaches
- Wait on sidewalk until bus comes to a full stop
- Enter the bus single file, using handrail and let younger students enter first
- Go directly to a seat, if a seat is available, and remain seated.
- DO NOT:
- Tamper with the bus or any of its equipment, including emergency equipment
- Show disrespect for the bus driver or bus monitors
- Cross the street behind the bus
- While the bus is in motion,
- Remain seated until the bus reaches its destination and comes to a complete stop
- Keep all parts of the body and other objects inside the bus
- Use good sitting posture as you would in the classroom
- Keep the aisle clear of feet, arms, and other objects
- Hold books, coats, and all other objects in lap
- Talk only in a normal voice
- Be quiet at railroad crossings so the bus driver can hear railroad warning signals
- Identify yourself upon the request of the bus driver or other authorized personnel
- Change seats
- Push or rough-house
- Throw objects around in the bus or out of the window
- Talk to the driver, except in an emergency
- Open emergency door without the driver's permission, except in an emergency
- Show disrespect for the bus driver
- Fight on the bus or at the bus stop
- When the bus is unloading,
- Remain seated until the driver opens the door
- Leave the bus in single file
- Leave the bus and the unloading area promptly
- Push or shove
- If crossing the street,
- Wait until bus driver gives signal to cross
- Walk in front and at least 10 feet ahead of the waiting bus
- Stop when even with the traffic side of the bus and look carefully in both directions
- Cross quickly, but do not run
- Help smaller children to cross the road safely
- Go directly to the driveway and always be in view of driver if student's home is on the right side of the street
- Cross without a signal from the bus driver
- Other Conditions:
- Vandalism to the bus will be paid for by those responsible and the School Board regulation regarding parent liability will be enforced
- All pyrotechnic devices and incendiaries are banned from any school bus
- Students may be assigned to definite seats and shall not be permitted to move from the assigned seat except upon permission from the bus driver
- No student is permitted to interfere with another student or to molest the property of another student
- Bottles or glass containers are forbidden on board the bus
- No student is permitted to drink, eat, or smoke while on board the bus
- No cleats or other type of spikes are allowed to be worn on the bus by any student
- Musical instruments or other items that cannot be carried or held on the lap shall not be permitted in the bus
- No radios, tape players, or record players are permitted on the bus unless authorized by the principal
- Unauthorized personnel are not allowed on board the bus