Kids' back-to-school safety message to drivers -- be patient

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) It's the first day of school for many kids in the Burlington area, and parents say they want drivers to learn a lesson about safety during the school year.

Dozens of kids will be coming in their parents' cars, arriving on their bicycles, or using crosswalks to get safely to and from school. Parents say they want drivers to pay attention, especially at busy intersections.

"Yeah, I'm really excited," said Liam Conboy, one of several kids who pedaled to their first day of school in Burlington.

Conboy is doing his part to stay safe. "Looking before you cross, and not going when it's about to say "Don't walk," he said. But he also is urging others to follow the same rules of the road.

"If you're late, you're late. You're not going to make up cutting through a neighborhood, or blowing a traffic light, you just gotta bear with it and be safe," said Burlington Police Deputy Chief Shawn Burke. He also says watch out for both yellow and city buses.

Burke says most of all just be patient. It's going to keep kids like Anu Shilling, safe. Shilling walked to school this morning with her family. "I was really lazy this morning and so my mom picked this," she said. She's sporting new shoes and has the school safety rules already memorized. "Hold the railings when you're walking down the stairs, and don't run down the stairs either," she said.

Her dad, Jesse, is asking drivers to pay attention at crosswalks -- even if the kids aren't. "Definitely one of the main concerns is this Main Street intersection. It's just extremely busy here, and just want people to be more conscious, especially when the kids are coming in and out of school," he said.

As the school year brings the expected, and the unexpected, these kids expect drivers to help them stay safe.

The first day of school is a relatively happy day for many students, but it can be really tough for others. It's hard for kids who are bullied to be excited about school.

Burke points out bullying isn't just during the school day, with hurtful words being thrown around on social media. Burke says it's important to spend time creating an open dialogue with your children.

"So being mindful of those things, so being involved in your children's lives and teaching them communication skills so they can advocate for themselves and also report incidents of bullying to school administrators," Burke said.

Burke says to make sure you set a good example while you're driving because your kids are watching. And don't text and drive.