Friday, August 12, 2016

TOP STORY >> Keeping children safe during the school year

By Staff Sgt. Amanda Human
19th Security Forces Squadron

Team Little Rock the summer is coming to an end and the 2016-2017 school year is fast approaching. Harris Rd Gate (School Gate) Hours are 6 to 8:30 a.m. and 2 to 5 p.m. starting Aug 15. 

A tip from your local Defenders is do not put your child’s name on their book bag. It’s an open target for strangers to know your children’s name, get their attention and lure them away.

Here are a few tips from the National Crime Prevention Center on traveling to and from school, riding on the bus and bullying tips to start out the school year: 

Traveling To and From School

Map out with your children a safe way for them to walk to school or to the bus stop. Avoid busy roads and intersections. Do a trial run with them to point out places they should avoid along the way, such as vacant lots, construction areas, and parks where there aren’t many people.

Teach children to follow traffic signals and rules when walking or biking. Stress that they should cross the street at crosswalks or intersections with crossing guards when they can.

Encourage children to walk to school or the bus stop with a sibling or friend, and to wait at bus stops with other children.

Teach children not to talk to strangers, go anywhere with them, or accept gifts from them without your permission. Tell them that if they see a suspicious stranger hanging around or in their school they should tell an adult.

Help children memorize their phone number and full address, including area code and zip code. Write down other important phone numbers such as your work and cell phone on a card for your children to carry with them.

On the bus

Have your children arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to pick them up.

Make sure children know to stand on the sidewalk or on the grass while waiting for the bus.

Teach children to make sure they can see the bus driver and the bus driver can see them before crossing in front of the bus. Tell them to never walk behind the bus.

Be aware that often bullying takes place on the school bus. Ask children about their bus - who they sit with, who they talk to, and what the other kids do. Let them know that if they see someone being bullied, or are bullied themselves, they can talk to you, the bus driver, or another trusted adult.


Most bullying happens when adults aren’t around, such as in between classes, at lunch or recess, after school, and online. Still, bullying rarely takes place without an audience - kids are around to see bullying 85 percent of the time. But even though they see it, kids usually don’t try to stop bullying, and may even be unknowingly encouraging it.

Most of the time that kids witness bullying, they stand by passively. This causes bullying to last longer because it reinforces the bullies’ power and status, which is two reasons that people bully. Most kids don’t want to watch bullying, and don’t want it to happen at all. But many kids don’t know how to do this and worry that by stepping in, they might become the next victim. These worries, and witnessing verbal and physical abuse, take a toll on bystanders.

Possible Effects on Bystanders:

Feel angry, helpless, and guilty.

Don’t feel safe where bullying takes place, like in certain hallways in school, on the bus, in the park, or online.

Fear of becoming the next victim

Two out of three kids want to help when they see bullying, and helping out is one of the most effective ways to stop bullying and prevent it from happening again. When friends help out, 57 percent of the time bullying stops within 10 seconds.

There are effective and safe ways for kids to step in and help others being bullied.

Some work better in certain situations than others. You can help kids decide when to use each method by role-playing bullying situations with them. Remember to emphasize that kids should only step in when they feel safe.

Walk away. This shows bullies that their behavior is not funny or okay.

Speak up. Tell bullies that what they are doing is wrong by saying, “that’s not funny, let’s get out of here” or something similar. Kids can stand up for each other. This may also give other bystanders the confidence to speak up or walk away.

Be a friend. Sometimes kids get picked on because they don’t have any friends or anyone to stand up for them. When kids befriend someone being bullied, bullies are less likely to pick on them. Friendship can also give children the support and the confidence to stand up for themselves.

Ask others to help. When more kids stand up to bullies, the bullies will be more likely to realize their actions are not okay.

Get an adult. Sometime kids who are bullied are scared to ask an adult for help because they think it will make the bullying worse. Kids can help by telling an adult what is happening, or going to speak to an adult with kids being bullied.

There are more helpful tips at

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