What local parents need to know before school starts

Posted at 9:21 PM, Sep 07, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-07 21:29:10-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Bright yellow buses will be hit the roads of the Commonwealth early Tuesday morning and Chesterfield County drivers are being warned to watch out, be careful and be safe.

There are 12,000 bus stops in Chesterfield County, 75 percent of the county's students, or 45,000 ride the bus to and from school.

The problem is some drivers are impatient,  don't pay attention, or fail to slow down around school buses. That's why school leaders are pushing to get the word out that safety is the number one priority.

Some residents already know the issue well. "I drive down Centralia Road on my way to work everyday," said Rebecca Crump. "I see cars that do fly by the bus with the stop sign out and they don't stop."

That's a problem Janet Morgan knows first hand, "our son was getting off the bus and a car came right on through, the red lights were on and the flag was out, they still just ran through."

In Henrico County, School leaders are letting parents and students know the two year process of reviewing and revising the "Code of Conduct" is over and new rules apply starting Tuesday.

One focus is on support being made available for students in any grade to help prevent problems. In the area of discipline, punishment for some violations, like fighting, in years past saw a mandatory 10 day suspension.

That has changed to a range of six to 10 days now.

That allows more discretion by school administrators who can now take age and past history into consideration for the punishment.

Another change is cellphones are now allowed to be used during non classroom time, in the past there was an all out ban.

Richmond City Schools on Tuesday are taking a zero tolerance policy when it comes to students health and immunizations.

All students new to Richmond Public Schools have to have a record of which shots they've gotten. If they are pre-k to 5th grade, they will also need proof of a comprehensive physical within the last 12 months.

Once they hit 6th grade, they are required to have booster shots for diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus.

Billy Cashwell has two grandchildren in Richmond Schools and thinks zero tolerance for immunizations is the only way to go.

"I believe that you should have your child immunized, there's a lot of things going on out there that you know your child can catch, if they're not immunized, it could be really bad on them," said Cashwell.

The school system is also introducing Care-Dox, an online program allowing parents to post and store critical medical information like allergies and prescription medications their student may have.

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