Austin ISD and the city of Austin's Safe Routes to Schools stressed safety to the entire community at this year's 10th Annual Back to School Bash. The Bash is a resource fair that brings together thousands of families each year to prepare students for the new school year.
"The Back to School Bash gives families a single place for resources and safety information. Each year, Austin ISD, in partnership with the city of Austin and other community leaders, works hard to put on the event," said Superintendent Paul Cruz. "We want to make sure students arrive safe and ready to learn Aug. 24."
Hundreds of vaccines, car seats, eyeglasses and more than 3,500 backpacks full of school supplies were available at this free event.
Bash aims for students to have everything they need to take advantage of the quality education offered at AISD, while in and outside the school.
Since 1991, the city of Austin's Safe Routes to School Program has educated students on pedestrian and bicycle safety and provided crossing guards at crucial intersections. The program aims to tackle barriers that prevent students from walking and biking to school. The goal is to empower the community by making walking and biking to school safe, convenient and fun for students and families.
The city of Austin Public Works Department supports this effort by employing 230 crossing guards and crossing guard supervisors, stationed at 90 elementary schools in seven school districts.
In 2014, Safe Routes to School trained more than 49,627 students in safe street crossing, bicycle safety and safe train and bus riding procedures.
AISD urges community members to recognize the importance of school bus safety, especially by not passing school buses that are displaying flashing red lights.
AISD's Department of Transportation continues to encourage drivers to reduce their speed when driving near schools and to follow posted signs that require drivers to slow down to 20 miles per hour or less when lights are flashing. Failure to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks or stop when school bus lights are flashing and speeding through school zones when lights are flashing could result in a fine.
The district's transportation team would like to reinforce several safety tips for students:
- Always remain in direct eyesight of the bus driver.
- Arrive at the bus stop in plenty of time, at least five minutes prior to the scheduled time.
- Take 10 giant steps back from the curb while waiting for the bus and 10 steps away from the curb when exiting the bus.
- Never try to re-board the bus without the driver's permission to retrieve an item after exiting.
- Never reach underneath the bus.
- Always follow the driver's directions for how to cross the street.
- Be alert to traffic and look both ways.
- Always cross in front of the bus, but only when the bus driver signals it is safe.
This year's sponsors include A+ Federal Credit Union, Dell, Seton Health Plan, Google Fiber, Care Van, Muslims for Humanity, The Neighborhood, the North Austin Muslim Community Center, Renaissance Academy and the Anderson Foundationhe collaboration includes more than 120 departments from AISD, City of Austin and Travis County, non-government organizations and other entities that seek to help the community.