Bill to Set Minimum Safety Standards for Concussion Management in Schools Reintroduced in Congress

On January 26, 2011, Democratic lawmakers reintroduced legislation, Protecting Student Athletes from Concussions Act, that would set minimum safety standards for concussion management in public schools across the country.

The legislation would, for the first time, ask school districts to implement a concussion safety and management plan. It would require schools to post information about concussions on school grounds and on school websites. It would also support when in doubt, sit it out policies for students suspected of sustaining a concussion during a school-sponsored athletic activity.

The National Football League (NFL) has endorsed the legislation and is working on similar … Read the rest

Is It Acceptable That No Sprinklers Were Required in Long Island Elementary Schools Destroyed By Fire?

Last month there were two fires in Long Island schools. Just days before there was a fire in Riverhead Charter School, South Bay Elementary School in West Babylon was destroyed by fire, forcing the relocation of its classes to a nearby church.

The school was built in the early 1950s. Fire sprinklers were not required at that time. Since then, updated building codes in New York and other states require sprinklers in school spaces of more than 20,000 square feet. But sprinklers are not required in schools built before the code was changed. In addition, the 20,000 square foot rule … Read the rest

Federal Government Studying Harm Restraints and Seclusion in Schools and School Buses Cause Children and Teens

A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report this past spring, concerned about children’s’ safety and welfare, highlighted allegations of abuse and the potentially deadly consequences of using certain forms of behavior management, often times for special education students.

Although GAO could not determine whether allegations were widespread, GAO did find hundreds of cases of alleged abuse and death related to the use of these methods on school children during the past two decades. Examples of these cases include a 7-year-old reportedly dying after being held face down for hours by school staff, 5-year-olds allegedly being tied to chairs with bungee cords … Read the rest

Schoolchildren Face Traffic Dangers When School Lets Out

A recent article by Jennifer Steinhauer of The New York Times discusses the dangers middle school students face when they become pedestrians when the school bell rings. The number of serious traffic incidents involving schoolchildren across the 900 Los Angeles public schools has significantly increased, particularly around middle schools. From January to November 2008, there were 153 traffic-related injuries around schools, which Los Angeles public school officials said was much higher than five years ago. Last year, two eighth-grade girls in Wilmington, near the Port of Los Angeles, were hit by vehicles near school, and one girl was left partly … Read the rest

New Federal Rule to Make School Buses Safer

New federal rules will make the nations 474,000 school buses safer by requiring higher seat backs, mandating lap and shoulder belts on small school buses and setting safety standards for seat belts on large school buses, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters announced this past October.

Secretary Peters said the new rule requires all new school buses to be equipped with 24-inch-high seat backs, instead of the 20-inch-high seat backs required today. Higher seat backs will help prevent taller and heavier children from being thrown over the seat in a crash, decreasing the chance of injury to them and … Read the rest