It is our sincere hope that you and your family enjoyed the summer and making memories to cherish forever. Now, it is time to consider how best to return to the learning environment and remain safe.

Information and Advice from HCCP2:

A Good Education in a Good Environment. ~ Constable Chris Diaz

This week, most area schools opened for the 2016-2017 school year. This month’s Constable’s Corner is intended to identify several important cautionary steps to take to ensure your child is safe at school, and when traveling to and from school each day. Therefore, please consider the following checklist as a means to help you ensure that your child is safe the entire semester, and that they obtain a good education in a good environment.

Please consider implementing the following safety tips with your family:

_ Update your child’s ID photo and fingerprints. My office provides this as a service at most Precinct 2 functions.  To acquire an ID kit or for more information, please contact our Community Services Division.

_ Meet your child’s teachers and any adult who has access to and contact with your child. Make sure they are authorized to work with children in their environment.

_ Determine which individuals are authorized to pick up your children when you are unable to do so. Provide this list to the administration office.

_ If your child walks to school, walk the route with him or her to identify landmarks and safe places to go if help is needed or if the child believes he or she is being followed. Teach your child to always cross streets at corners where there are traffic signals or designated crosswalks. Teach children not to run into a street or cross between parked cars, to look both ways and left again before crossing, and to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them. Familiarize your child with your neighborhood.

_ If your child rides the bus, visit the bus stop with him/her and meet the driver. Both parents and children should learn the bus number and the route.

_ Teach your child how to safely board and disembark from a bus. Teach them to always cross the street at designated street corners or crosswalks.  When crossing they not run into the street or cross between parked cars.

_ If you child rides a bicycle to school teach them roadway safety. Make sure you child wears a helmet, bright or reflective clothes, and that the bicycle is safe. Riding with a friend is advised.

_ Teach your child to look for danger signals and what to do if he/she is followed, approached for a suspicious purpose, or bothered in any way. Include a discussion on how to get away quickly and what to report to a trusted adult. If your child is in danger, teach him/her to scream, run away in an opposite direction, run to a safe haven, and call the police.

_ Discuss troubling scenarios with your child and teach him/her how to recognize danger signals and what to do for their safety. It is wise to ensure children are not distracted while walking or riding a bicycle, so teach them to refrain from the use of headphones and electronic devices.

_ If you child is latchkey, make sure you develop rules for safety and practice them often. Include a list of emergency contacts (e.g. fire, police, ambulance, family members, or a trusted neighbor) should they need help.

Other important topics to discuss are:

_ School safety. Please obtain a copy of the student code of conduct and review it with your child.

_ There is a zero tolerance for bullying at all schools.  If a child is experiencing bullying teach them how to identify the signs of bullying and to report such abuse to a teacher or adult immediately.

_ Gun safety. Always keep guns in secure places and out of a child’s reach.  If a gun is seen, a child should run and tell an adult.

_ Internet safety. Monitor your child’s internet use by utilizing parental control measures.  Spend time teaching safe internet use to your child. Talk to your child about suspicious online dangers so that they will always report suspicious or predatory behavior to you. Finally, teach your child never to give out personal and confidential information, addresses, and phone numbers.

_ School Resource Officers. Precinct 2 like many police departments assign uniformed personnel to assist with school security. The School Resource Officer is an excellent person to seek out for any safety concerns.

While many topics are discussed in this month’s Constable’s Corner, I hope that you and your family will have a safe and productive school year.  My staff and I are available to discuss any of the issues presented above, and may be contacted at 713-477-4766.