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Back to School

For many, going back to school brings thoughts of new clothes and shoes, buying school supplies, or picking out a new lunch box. But what about school safety? A primary concern of the Novi Police Department is the continued safety of our children. Although the men and women of the Novi Police Department work closely with our partners in the Novi Community School District to ensure our children's safety, parents are the most important resource in the safety process; and that must begin at home.

The Novi Police Department offers the following tips to maintain a safe environment for you and your children during the school year.

Educate your children before they head off to school

Student standing by school busWhen parents talk about school safety these days, they're usually referring to violence at schools. Research shows school-age children are actually nine times more likely to sustain an unintentional injury - whether on the playground or in school - than to be the victim of violence while at school. To help you keep your children free from harm:

  • Be aware of putting your child's name on anything that is readily visible. This might allow an abductor to get on a "first name" basis with your child and develop a sense of trust.
  • Make sure children know their full name, his or her home phone number and address, your work and cellular number, the number of another trusted adult, and how to call 911 for emergencies.
  • Walk the route to and from school with your children, pointing out safe places to go if they are being followed or need help.
  • Talk to your children about strangers approaching them and some of the ploys they might use. Stress to them adults shouldn't need a child's help to find a puppy or get directions; they should ask another adult for that information.
  • Teach your children that it is okay to say NO - tell them to trust their instincts.
  • Remind your children to never give the impression they are home alone if strangers telephone or come to the door. Never open the door for a stranger, and once again, please teach them about dialing 911.
  • Do not allow children to take MP3 players, iPods, DS games and other popular electronic devices to school which could attract thieves.
  • Talk to your children about bullying. Bullying can be physical, verbal, or social and can happen at school, on the playground, on the school bus, in the neighborhood, or over the Internet. Children may be embarrassed about being targeted by bullies, and they might not confide in you. Tell them it's OK to report a bully to a teacher, counselor, or the School Resource Officer.
  • Know your child’s friends (and parents). Parents should become familiar with their children’s acquaintances. This is a continuing process because children make new friends during each school year.

Load up the kids AND lock your house

Before you load the kids up for the drive to the bus stop or school, be sure to lock your house doors. The few minutes you are away from home can be the perfect morning stop for a burglar. Recent home invasions in Novi have occurred during the daytime when the burglar made entry through an open door or window, often times while the homeowner was in the neighborhood.

Many families have a morning checklist to make getting ready for school easier; why not add a security checklist to that routine? Depending on the age or ages of the children, let them help you get out of the house by giving them a task that relates to their security. Older children should check and lock the windows, while the younger ones can see if the doors are locked behind you when you leave.

While on the way to and from school, be mindful of what is going on in your neighborhood. Look for strangers who seem to be lurking on the sidewalk, with no real purpose. Watch for cars driving slowly through the neighborhood. They might be sizing up potential targets. If you are concerned, dial 911.

Traveling to and from school

  • Plan a walking route to school or the bus stop. Choose the most direct way with the fewest street crossings and, if possible, with intersections that have a crossing guard. Walk the route with your child beforehand.
  • Never let children walk alone. Be sure your child walks to and from school with a sibling, friend, or neighbor.
  • Teach your children - whether walking, biking, or riding the bus to school - to obey all traffic signals, signs and crossing guards
  • When driving children, deliver and pick them up as close to the school as possible. Don't leave until they are in the school.
  • If your child bikes to school, make sure he or she wears a helmet that meets the safety standards.
  • Teach children to arrive at the bus stop early, stay out of the street, wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before approaching the street, watch for cars, and avoid the driver's blind spot.
  • Remind your children to stay seated at all times and keep their heads and arms inside the bus while riding.
  • Tell your child not to bend down in front of the bus to tie shoes or pick up objects, as the driver may not see him before starting to move.

Motorist reminders

  • When backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage, watch out for children walking to the bus stop or walking or bicycling to school.
  • Slow Down. Watch for children walking in the street, especially where there are no sidewalks. Watch for children playing and gathering near bus stops.
  • Be Alert and ready to stop. Children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street without looking for traffic.
  • If you are approaching a school bus from either the front or behind and its yellow lights are flashing, the bus is preparing to stop.
  • It is illegal to pass a stopped school bus when the red lights are flashing. These flashing lights mean the bus is either picking up or discharging students. The first time fine for illegally passing a school bus is a $250 fine, 5 points on your license and/or 30days in jail.

The Novi Police Department encourages all community members to incorporate these safe practices into their routines to ensure this school year is a SAFE one! If any member of the Novi Police Department can assist you or your family, please know we are just a phone call away. Stay safe!