Safety to and From School
Pick Up and Drop Off
Morning Drop Off
The first few weeks of any school year can be chaotic, and mornings of any school day can be exceedingly busy. Parents may drive their children to school, children may walk to school, and most schools have students who qualify for transportation. School staff often oversee the arrival of students to ensure that everyone is following the rules to make the mornings safe, smooth, and orderly.
- Buses usually arrive at the same time each day.
- Avoid driving in the bus lane or bus zone. There is a designated bus loops at most schools where buses line up and drop off children, Per AZ Minimum Standards: during the loading or unloading of passengers at the designated school bus loading area at the school, the school shall restrict the loading area to school buses, passengers and school employees assisting in the loading or unloading of passengers.
- This separation from the car drop off allows for students to leave buses safely.
- Each school's entry process is different based on the geographic layout of the property. Site administration determines the safety processes for drop off and pick up of students.
- Each school has a designated car line set aside specifically for parents to drop their children off.
- Parents should not park their vehicle and leave their vehicle unattended in the drop off or pick up lane.
- If parents choose to walk their children to the gate, they must park in a designated parking space.
At the end of the school day, the school’s focus is getting children onto buses, into cars, walking/riding safely off campus or to meet their parents/ guardians.
- Bus riders will wait in one area, while parent pick up students will wait in another area.
- Teachers and staff may assist children in getting to the right vehicles.
- Some schools have a sign system so that parents know which line of cars to follow to get to the location of where their child is waiting.
- Once students are in the car, make sure their seatbelts are fastened immediately. Injuries can occur even from slow-moving crashes and fender benders, particularly for young children.
- Try to pick students up five or ten minutes later to avoid the worst traffic congestion.
- Teach students to be responsible pedestrians and discourage horseplay and other dangerous behaviors near the pick up area.
Safety To and From School
If your child walks to school:
- Discuss the safest route to and from school.
- Teach children to stop at the curb or edge of the road before crossing the street.
- Look and listen for traffic to the left, then to the right and then to the left again before crossing the street.
- When crossing, children should walk, not run, and should keep scanning for turning vehicles while crossing. Always be aware of your surroundings.
- Talk about why it is safer to cross at school crosswalks. The bold yellow-striped school crosswalks make crosswalks more visible to drivers and help make the intersection safer.
- Never go between parked cars to cross the street.
If your child rides a bike to school:
- Discuss the safest route to and from school.
- Ensure your child wears a properly fitted bicycle helmet.
- Teach children to stop for traffic lights and stop signs, and also to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and on sidewalks.
- Ride on the sidewalk when you can. If not, stay in the bike lane. When cycling with friends, ride in single file instead of riding next to one another and perhaps extending out into traffic.
- Obey all traffic lights and signs. They are there for bicycles as well as automobiles.
- Avoid all trick and double riding, such as a second child riding on the handlebars.
- Ride in the same direction as traffic.
- Instruct children to not wear earphones while riding. Listening to music muffles the traffic sounds that help them ride safely.
- If objects need to be carried, they should be placed in a backpack or a basket, allowing both hands to remain on the handlebars at all times. The backpack should not be so heavy that it affects the balance of the rider.
If your child takes the bus:
- Encourage children to leave home early enough to avoid running to catch the bus.
- Teach children to wait for the bus on the sidewalk, not in the street.
- Teach children to stay out of the bus driver’s blind spots, where they would be hidden from view and more vulnerable.
- Tell your children to be sure they can see the bus driver’s face before beginning to cross, and to avoid walking behind the bus or close to its wheels or side.
- The safest way for children to cross the street after getting off the bus is to walk at least 10 steps away from the bus (on the sidewalk) before crossing.
- Explain to children that if they drop anything under or in front of the bus, they should tell the bus driver and not reach for it on their own.
- Click here to see our Transportation Safety Page.
If you drive your children to school:
- Follow the speed limit. Remember, the speed limit is 15 MPH in a school zone, and no passing is allowed.
- Be alert for children in the school zone even if the crossing guard is not present.
- Reduce traffic congestion and keep children visible. Do not double-park, stop in crosswalks, or interfere with school buses in the bus loading area of a school.
Parking Lot Safety for High School Students
Student parking lots can be incredibly busy in the morning and after dismissal. Safety is a primary concern of the school staff, but it requires everyone's participation in order to ensure a safe and orderly process. Most important, students should be patient, respectful and courteous to other drivers while driving onto campus.
The student lot is reserved for students who have legally registered automobiles, automobile insurance, drivers’ license, and who obtain a parking permit through the established process. Parking permits can be obtained from the school's bookstore.
These safety tips can help with a safe arrival and dismissal:
- Parking is not permitted in the fire lanes, disabled person’s parking stalls (unless student has a valid disabled person’s parking permit), or in open and unmarked areas, including fence lines.
- Speed on school campus is to be kept at or below 10 mph and drivers must operate their vehicles with due care and caution at all times.
- Drivers must come to a complete stop at all stop signs on campus.
- All drivers will follow the direction of school staff, campus security, and/or police directing traffic.
- While walking to and from your car, students should always check both ways prior to crossing any lane of traffic, whether you’re in a crosswalk or not.
- Check adjacent parking spots when pulling into a spot.
- Reverse slowly and check surroundings when backing up your vehicle. Watch for other students walking, bicycling or any distracted pedestrians.
Parking Lot Safety for Parents
When teachers, students, staff and parents follow arrival/dismissal expectations, we all work together to keep everyone safe. School parking lots can be incredibly busy places in the morning when children arrive and in the afternoon during dismissal. Safety is a primary concern of the school staff, but it requires everyone's participation.
Many parents drop off and pick up students by driving or carpooling, and these safety tips can help with safe arrival and dismissal.
- Stay in designated pick up areas as directed by school personnel.
- Yield to pedestrians, crossing guards, and buses, and be aware that children who are walking home may not look both ways before venturing in or across a roadway.
- The speed limit on school grounds is to be kept at or below 10 mph and drivers must operate their vehicles with due care and caution at all times.
- Be sure to drive the proper direction through parking lots and nearby streets.
- When waiting for students to be released, pull all the way forward on the curb to allow other cars ample room and minimize driving around.
Most importantly, parents should be patient, respectful, and courteous to other drivers while they pick their students up from school. Anger and frustration can lead to careless, unsafe behavior, and being a positive role model can help students learn safe procedures.