A message to students, parents and teachers as school begins. Summer vacation is not a happy time for all students. It can be a time of transition, unhappy times and uncertainty.

When some students depart from school in June, they leave behind consistency, nutrition and a caring environment. Some students step into a hostile environment, no support systems and lack of food. Teachers need to remember that as students file through their doors this week. If those students are off coming into your room, give them time to readjust to the normalcy that they need.

Keep your ears open to see if there is any comments, bullying or harassing going on from other students about the lack of summer of fun. Some students only go to the local lake and want to talk about it and others go to an exotic island; make sure they get equal time to discuss their summer adventures. Some students just “chill” around the house, tell them that’s great; maybe you did the same.

Parents, make sure your students are prepared for school — supplies are cheap, 10 cents for a folder, 25 cents for a notebook, look for the deals, they are there. For parents who can afford more, buy more; extra supplies you purchase can be given to your child’s teachers for students who do not have the necessary supplies. Make sure your students are properly clothed; there are places to buy good used clothing if you cannot afford new clothes for the school year. I always shop “clearance” at Old Navy, shirts can be bought for less than a dollar. Look around, it does not have to be from Macy’s but something a student could say is new to them.

Once school starts, remember that your child has responsibilities at school. Before you ask a teacher why they gave your student a failing grade or a detention, ask your student what he or she did or did not do. Students need to study, do the work and be respectful in the classroom. Teach your child that like in the real world, there are various personalities of teachers, some you may joke with, others are very serious; make sure they have these skills not only for school but also for real life. Appropriate, respectful behavior is an expectation not only in school, but also in the workplace.

Students, it’s your life. Remember that. I have never met a student who has said “I want to go to jail,” “I want to live on the streets,” or “I expect to inherit money, so I don’t have to learn and work.”

Students, you decide your future and it begins at a very young age. Like working with your hands, learn the necessary skills for carpentry, electrical, plumbing, etc., like working with animals, volunteer at the local shelter, take an interest in clubs that can help you obtain your goal. You get it, put the effort in to get the benefit out in the future. Join groups, sports and clubs for the connections and expertise you can garner from them. Keep in mind they are only a tool to help you in the real world.

Enjoy your school, days with friends but be safe, you are not invincible: speed, alcohol, drugs and irresponsible behavior can shorten your life. If you know of a friend doing dangerous things, try getting them help. As a teacher, I have attended too many funerals and listened to students say they are shocked by their friend’s sudden death. Um, no, you knew they were doing opioids and never said anything. Watch out for each other even if it means telling on them.

Hurley Cavacas lives in Rutland.

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