Summer vacation is winding down. The smell of scotch tape and pencil lead is filling the aisles at pretty much every retailer in town. If your kids haven’t started school already, it’s just a matter of time. In the next couple of weeks, all the schools will be abuzz with students eager to see their friends and make new friends. And oh yeah, learn a thing or two.
While our children are learning new ideas and subjects and grasping the concept of actually having to study for a quiz or test, I think it’s time for a POP QUIZ for us as parents.
I know what you are thinking. Helping our kids with their homework is basically all our school knowledge (although Common Core? I still don’t get it!). As our students return to school, let’s remind each other of basic school etiquette as well as bus laws that we often don’t pay attention to.
I know this seems so simple, but the incidences of students being bullied seem to be rising. On average, 19% of high school students report that they’ve been bullied (on school property (www.nwitimes.com/lifestyles/parenting). Ohio ranks 35th on the list of states that struggle with bullying (out of 47 states surveyed). While that seems pretty low, it still shows that there is bullying happening.
Talk to your kids about being kind. Talk to them about their friendships and how to be friends to those without friends. I always try to tell my children to look for those kids that might be sitting alone at lunch or on the playground. Try to find the new students and befriend them. Help them out and show them around their new school.
As one of my childhood TV mentors once said, “Finding ways to harmonize our uniqueness with the uniqueness of others can be the most fun, and the most rewarding, of it all. There isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to love once you’ve heard their story. Never underestimate the impact that your mere existence can have on another human being. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.” – Mister Rogers
Just because someone “looks” different, or acts different, doesn’t mean they deserve to be treated differently. We are all unique and one-of-a-kind, and that should be celebrated, not looked down on. Take a moment to talk to your kids about the awesome learning opportunities ahead of them by accepting one another’s differences.
This may seem so overdone and you might be rolling your eyes about bus laws, but they are SO important. How many times do you hear about a child getting hit by a passing car? There have been so many recent instances of a car vs bus accident. It’s getting out of hand and I think we could all use the reminder, especially this time of year as the busses start coming out in full force!
· Two-Lane Roads
All traffic must stop for a school bus no matter which direction it's traveling. Traffic must stop at least 10 feet away from the school bus, whether coming from its front or rear.
· Resuming Travels
In Ohio, traffic can't move again until either the bus resumes movement or until it's waved on by the school bus driver. Basically, don’t jump the gun, and wait patiently.
· Highways with Four or More Lanes and/or Divided Highways
On roads with four or more lanes, only traffic moving in the same direction as the bus must stop when the school bus stops to release passengers.
· Waiting for a Stopped School Bus
I know that sometimes it seems like the bus is just sitting there after all the children have exited. But, according to Ohio Law, the bus driver must wait to resume its travels until all exiting passengers are a safe distance away from the bus.
· School Bus Safety Requirements for Traffic
Just because a school bus might not have one of those stop signs that comes out when the bus is stopped does NOT mean you don’t have to stop. When bus lights are flashing, this is enough notice to signal drivers that they need to stop, as the bus is loading or unloading students. (This is one I actually didn’t know!)
· Violation of School Bus Traffic Laws
If you violate school bus traffic stop laws, you may receive a $500 fine and could have your driver's license suspended for a certain length of time. Even if you know you violated the bus law and admit to it at the time of ticketing, you will still have to attend a court hearing in person.
How did you score on the Pop Quiz? Are you ready to start the school year on a positive, uplifting note? Set the example first at home. Attitudes and actions are replicated by children based on what they see and hear from those they look up to an admire. Be an A+ parent this school year!