Words By:
Sydney Young
Director of Training & Implementation
Posted On:
January 27, 2016

Dismissal Safety

Student safety should be the number one priority of every school. This includes a safe dismissal process. A vast majority of schools experience a sort of ‘rush hour’ during dismissal, which can be chaotic and stressful. This congestion can be dangerous to navigate, especially for students.

Increasing safety should always be the goal. School administration has the responsibility of creating routines that ensure children can safely get home. Parents important to the safety process, but schools still play the biggest role.

This means that it’s up to the school to develop policies that address how students of all ages are dismissed or held at the end of the day. This policy should include adult supervisors, their locations, and their duties during dismissal time. Parents or guardians also need to be educated on each school’s policies if they want to pick up their child stress-free.

The school needs to inform parents about proper child supervision as well as any available after-school services. The policy may also include how the parents can inform their schools of any changes in their child’s routine.  It is critical that the parent is aware of who is picking up their child and where. This is why it’s important that dismissal policy allows room for parent’s requests and suggestions- at the end of the day, no one cares more about their children than they do. Moreover, schools need to create an alternative solution for circumstances when the designated person to pick up the child does not arrive or is running late.

School Dismissal Problems and Solutions

Policies should be developed collectively with parent-teacher organizations, the local community, and the school board, as well as other stakeholders. Engineers can recommend policies related to arrival and dismissal, which complement infrastructure modifications. The group should convene to identify the issues, discuss solutions, and draft policy language. Parents should be notified about new policies via mailings, calls, meetings, e-mail, and/or social media.

One of the primary concerns during school dismissal is the road-related accidents and traffic. High-volumes of traffic at the majority of schools during dismissal or pick-up times often lead to poor circulation of traffic, which most often poses great danger for everyone. For example, students bicycling or walking from and to school may refrain from using crosswalks or sidewalks. Buses may possibly block the visibility of bicyclists and pedestrians, which may result into an unanticipated danger.

Sometimes, traffic congestion is a hazard to pedestrians and bicyclists during arrival and pick-up times, especially when motorists exhibit non-compliant or erratic behaviors. When automobiles are lined up, students may have to cross between cars, where they are less visible to other drivers. A solution to this problem is the use of student valets who can open car doors for students and help them in or out of the vehicle, encouraging the parents to stay in their vehicles. Additional operational modifications can improve traffic flow, thus reducing congestion. Policies and programs that encourage walking, bicycling, busing, and carpooling will also reduce congestion and improve safety at schools.

Traffic Congestion Solution

Traffic congestion can greatly compromise the safety of children. It is therefore, a must, to find solutions that can effectively reduce this concern. The most common solution to the problem of traffic congestion is to reduce the number of children taking private vehicles to school. Here are a few more possible answers to this dilemma:

  • Educating Parents – Parents need to be aware of the occurring road-related problems that affect their kid’s safety when going to and returning from the school. Parents must be educated about the dangers of traffic violations, the mode of transportation that their children are using, and about their role on reducing traffic congestion and elevating student’s safety by simply following the road rules. Such information can be provided in the PTA newsletter or distributing it in fliers handed to the parents. Once parents have this information they will be able to be more cautious on their way in and out of the school.
  • Car pick-up lines – Having pick-up lines can significantly reduce the problem of congestion. They allow for particular areas where private vehicles can pick-up children in an organized way.
  • Establishing parking and curbing zones – Using signs and curbing to extend the pick-up areas, creating temporary parking zones and no-parking zones, may possibly reduce congestion in the immediate school area.
  • Traffic Line synchronization – This is a simple yet an effective approach. Examining the existing traffic lights and then revising its timing in order to synchronize with the dismissal times of the schools in the proximity. Though, this measure needs coordination with the traffic authority within the location. It may also not be effective especially if the light’s timing isn’t the main source of the traffic congestion.
  • Encouraging students to bike or walk to school – Encouraging students to bike or walk to school will not just lessen congestion but will also provide environmental and health benefits. The school can establish programs promoting walking/ biking by enabling students to get rewards or points based on how frequently they walk or bike to school.
  • Encourage carpooling. Schools can also implement programs that can encourage parents to do carpooling. It may be in a way of adding incentive into car pool when the school creates a special express car pool lane. This allows participating drivers to get out of school premises much faster and more efficiently.
  • Instituting school busing program – This option is often viewed as somewhat cost-prohibited. Instituting this kind of program needs to be handled cautiously and must involve where and when busses would load and unload and whether or not it will consider school bus alerts. Using this option will be much more effective if the school administration conducts a survey asking parents their insights about the program.
  • Altering drop-off and pick-up rules – Schools can reduce congestion considerably by altering the times during which parents can drop off or pick up their children or by staggering bell times. However, parents who have multiple children at the same school, yet different drop-off and pick-up times may discourage these changes. A related change would be to change or add drop-off and pick-up locations, encouraging alternative routes into and out of the school area so that drivers would not all congregate in one place. Instituting “valets” at drop-off locations, whereby school staff or volunteers escort children from car to school, can also expedite the drop-off process.

School Dismissal Software

School dismissal software is the modern solution to avoid those anxious dismissal hours. It solves question of where the students are after the dismissal and whether or not they are arrive home safely. This software usually appears as smart-phone applications, which both parents and teachers can download in order to check on children after dismissal.

Dismissal software can be used that operates in accordance with the existing school dismissal procedure, making it extremely secure. Sometimes, it shows the precise location of the child in the school giving notifications on whether a student safely boarded the school bus and what time has the student been dropped off at the designated location stops.

There is also other software such as K-12 school software and a special software feature called geo-fence for school safety. Geo-fence uses GPS (Global Positioning system) and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) to define particular geographical boundaries. Simply put, geo-fence is a sort of virtual barrier.

Incorporating geo-fencing into a particular program will allow administrators to create triggers and set it up so when another device enters or exit from the predetermined boundaries, email alert or text message is sent to the dismissal administrative.

Student’s safety is imperative especially in today’s world of uncertainties. Adults need to find a way to ensure that students of all ages can go back and forth to school safely. School should be a home away from home that provides children with education and teaches values with the utmost care. But that care must not only be restricted within the four corners of the classroom but also translate during after school hours and dismissal.

Start keeping your kids safe.

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Sydney Young  -  Director of Training & Implementation

Sydney is an experienced Corporate Trainer, Educator and Client Manager. She is knowledgable about working with various educational systems and implementation. Sydney has a passion for helping others and traveling. She earned her Bachelors of Science in Psychology from the University of Central Florida.