Safety is key at Leighton Elementary

Submitted by the Oswego school district

Communication between Frederick Leighton Elementary School students, bus drivers, crossing guards, teachers and staff is critical to a smooth running school.

So for the 11th straight year, school opened with a special event focused on safety.

“For the past 11 years we have held a meeting between bus drivers, crossing guards, school staff and children according to the buses they rode,” veteran teacher Mary Lisk said. “We have seen a substantial decline in bus referrals and it has really helped to build relationships and improve safety.”

Continuing she noted, “After a brief breakfast, which this year included not only bus drivers and cross guards, but members of our board of education, we moved to the gym for a school wide meeting. We are working on the character traits of ‘responsibility’ and ‘respect’ and focus on safety not only on the bus, but also for walkers.”

This program has proven to be a tremendous success. Not only are students focused on safety while in the bus, but other areas are also included in the meeting.

“We talk about self control, being kind, remaining in seats, keeping aisles clear, respecting the driver, use of proper language, courtesy,  sound level of voice and encouraging students to think of the bus as an extension of the classroom where all school rules apply,” Lisk said.

Meanwhile, for walkers, Lisk said, “We promote safety as we ask students to walk (not run)  at all times, show respect for the crossing guards, wait for the crossing guard to assist at the crosswalks, to leave school grounds immediately after school and to go home or to where your parents expect you to be and report issues.”

There is also a concentration on bullying.

“Bullying on the bus or walking will not be tolerated under any circumstance,” Lisk said. “We discussed this topic with the students. Children must report bullying that occurs to them or if they witness this being done to others.” She noted that currently school bus drivers are working together to combat bullying as part of a statewide program.

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