School Portable: Appropriate or Not?

In the past,the term “school portable” referred to a motor vehicle,truck or other equipment that was used for travel to and from school. In recent years,however,this term has been expanded to include bikes,walking sticks,personal scooters,golf carts,even snowboards! Although not all of these motorized vehicles may be appropriate for a public place,they are probably safe for many locations where children congregate in and around schools,community centers,shopping malls,and so on.

Most schools have a policy about the use of this type of equipment. Some locations have special restrictions about the use of this type of vehicle. These are described below.

In locations where there is a specific school zone where only students are allowed to drive,parents must purchase a permit for the child (Ren) driving the school vehicle. Although it is not specifically mentioned in the school policy,many school districts allow older individuals who have been trained in safety to drive the school vehicle during school hours.

The driving policy of a school may prohibit the use of school portable devices within a school zone. A school may require all of its drivers to enroll in a training program and pass a written exam before operating a school vehicle on school property. However,school districts are encouraged to permit its drivers to operate the motorized vehicles in the school zone.

Generally,the use of school vehicles for purposes other than transportation is permissible as long as the student has the consent of the parents or guardian. Therefore,a student who wishes to use a motorized vehicle for an activity such as to go out for the evening or vacation will not be reprimanded.

For safety reasons,some school districts and parks may have restrictions on the type of equipment used by students. In some cases,these policies allow only one mobile device (i.e.,not more than one device may be used at any time,and it must be carried and visible) and prohibits the use of any other piece of equipment,such as a bike,when on school grounds.

Because of the cost of a regular moped,parents of younger children may want to consider using another device,such as a personal scooter,for their child (Ren). These devices are very cheap,are usually not covered by insurance,and can be rented in most areas.

For parking lot usage,parents should be aware that a parking lot is considered a non-motorized site. It is prohibited to have a school vehicle in a parking lot.

For field trip or other non-motorized usage,there are several options for transportation. If a student wishes to ride in a truck or van,they should know the policy of the location that they will be driving in. Although,some schools allow only a certain number of students to use these vehicles,they may be restricted from using them if they are found to be overcrowded.

If a student is going to be riding a moped or bicycle,a teacher can help him or her to purchase insurance for the vehicle. If the student decides to purchase insurance,they may want to contact an insurance agent before purchasing their insurance policy. Insurance agents will often offer a discount for students who do not purchase their own policy.

Parents may also choose to use their own vehicles to transport their children if they have other health reasons. However,this choice is up to the parent. In most cases,parents will need to follow the school policies regarding the use of school vehicles.

Once a student is enrolled,the school policies will generally take effect and provide guidelines for the operation of the school vehicles. Parents should review these policies and their child’s ability to drive at least annually.