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

September 5, 2003
Now that a new school year is upon us, itís 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 Ė from discussing bus and personal safety to helping with homework. Itís also that time of the year when motorists have to pay special attention while driving Ė not passing stopped school busses with flashing red lights and obeying posted speed limits in school zones.

Preparing for a Successful School Year
  • Know what the procedure is for dismissing children early in the event of an emergency
  • Find out what time lunch is, if they can buy lunch, how much it costs, and if the school offers reduced priced lunches or breakfasts
  • Be sure you filled out the proper health and emergency contact forms
  • Alert the school of any health problems your child may have
  • Make sure your child is up-to-date with all the proper shots and inoculations
  • To prevent injury, your childís 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, cell phone, or pager number
  • Teach your child the necessary traffic rules
  • Make sure they have someone to travel to and from school with Ė they should never go alone
  • Teach your child never to talk to or accept rides from strangers

Bus Safety
  • Wait for the bus at the designated bus stop
  • Let the bus come to a complete stop before approaching it
  • Do not approach the bus until the driver signals you
  • Follow the driverís safety instructions
  • 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 allows school districts to provide 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 school bus drivers to private school bus drivers (Ch.270 of 2003).

Homework Tips
  • Create an environment conducive to studying with adequate lighting 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.