Nadine Wimmer ReportingThousands of Utah students are heading back to school. To make sure yours has a safe school year, KSL uncovered the most important things you can do.
Parents have so many things to worry about this time of year, it can be overwhelming. We asked several educators what they'd suggest if there were three things parents could do to help their kids Stay Safe.
Parents teach their children a lot about safety.
Megan Spence, Student: “Don’t talk to strangers.”
Alyssa Harvey, Student: “My family does have a code word and my mom says never forget it.”
But the number one thing a parent can do, according to nearly every educator we interviewed, is help your child find a safe walking plan to school.
Katherine Egan, School Safety Commission: “I watch the kids every day walking along the sidewalk and I’m scared to death they’ll fall off the curb and into the cars.”
During the past decade, half of the 10,000 pedestrians hit by a car in Utah have been school-aged kids. The State Health Department lists the Salt Lake City/Ogden area as the country's 18th most dangerous. And sometimes it's parents who are the problem.
Yvonne Pearson, Principal: “Our concern has been when parents park in that area or when parents park in the road and call their children through the bus zone or call them through the traffic. It’s very, very dangerous.”
The second biggest concern is stranger danger.
Stephen Burnside, Principal: “I would say stranger danger, to continually remind students no tto talk to strangers.”
Bruce Gunn, Teacher: “That they follow the rules of safety, don’t talk to strangers, coming to school safely, going in groups.”
That message still needs to get out. Schools urge children to call for a ride if they're going to be late. And a lot of experts recommend a family code word to ensure your child goes with only approved adults.
Finally, though it may not seem related, educators overwhelmingly agree, a relationship with the teacher you can keep your child safe.
Dr. Kerrie Naylor, Jordan District: “I think the most important thing parents can do is have a relationship with the school. Make sure that they get to know the principal, get to know the teachers.”
That includes knowing the school's safety plans for emergencies, lockdowns and evacuations.
Other top suggestions include:
--Check your child's backpack for weapons or other things that are inappropriate
--Make sure your child knows how to get in touch with you in case of an emergency
--Know what resources your school offers
--Know if your school has a crisis plan
--Immunize your child