Assemblyman Magnarelli: Preparing Students for a Safe, Successful School Year

The start of a new school year is here and it’s important for parents to prepare their children for the challenges ahead. There are some simple things parents can do to help their children have a successful and safe school year – from discussing bus safety to helping with homework. It’s also that time of the year when motorists have to pay special attention while driving – not passing stopped school busses with flashing red lights and obeying posted speed limits in school zones.

Preparing for the First Day

  • Know what time school starts and ends
  • Find out what time lunch time is, if they can buy lunch, and how much it costs
  • Be sure you filled out the proper health and emergency contact forms
  • Alert the school of any health problems your child may have
  • To prevent injury, your child’s backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of their body weight
  • Be sure your child knows his or her home phone number and your work number
  • Plan a route to and from school and practice it with them beforehand
  • Teach your child the necessary traffic rules
  • Make sure they have someone to travel to and from school with – they should never go alone
  • Teach your child never to talk to or accept rides from strangers
  • Ask them if they have any questions or concerns about their first day

Bus Safety

  • Have a safe place to wait for the bus, away from traffic
  • Let the bus come to a complete stop before approaching it
  • Do not move around the bus while it is moving – stay in your seat
  • When exiting, walk at least 10 steps away from the bus
  • Make sure to always remain in clear view of the bus driver

The Assembly also recently worked to make school transportation safer for children. I supported a measure that extends child safety zones until June 30, 2005 (Ch.97 of 2003). The law provides transportation to students who would not normally qualify, but who would encounter hazardous traffic situations if they were to walk. We also passed a measure that applies state safety regulations for public schools to private schools (A.1082).

Homework Tips

  • Create an environment conducive to studying and free from distraction
  • Set aside ample time for homework
  • Be available to answer questions
  • Make sure they get a 10 minute break for every hour they are working

Following these helpful tips will help ensure you and your children have a safe and productive school year.