South Central Local Schools and the surrounding community will join with other schools and communities to recognize National School Bus Safety Week next week. The national theme this year is based on a child’s statement: “My school bus, the safest form of student transportation.”
We all should remember that when everyone does their part (school bus drivers, parents, students, and surrounding motorists) that there is no safer place for a student than on the school bus. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tells us that students are about 70 times more likely to get to school safely when taking a school bus instead of travelling by car.
That is because school buses are the most regulated vehicles on the road; they are designed to be safer than passenger vehicles in preventing crashes and injuries; and in every state, stop-arm laws protect children from other motorists.
The big yellow school bus has become an institution in our country, with children and families benefiting from the safe transportation service accomplished with these vehicles and the staff that operate them. Often we take for granted the benefit of this service, even while school and transportation staff continue to focus on maximizing safety and efficiency.
“Ensuring the safety of our students is crucial,” is the message from both superintendent and sheriff. “We are training our bus drivers to be cautious, but we need help from parents to make sure children remain alert and mindful of good safety practices when walking to their bus stop or to school. We also ask other motorists to be extra vigilant around school buses, observing traffic laws requiring them to stop for school buses that are loading or unloading and to watch for children who may be crossing the road.”
Our district transportation staff offers the following tips to remind your child while getting on and off the bus:
- Get to the bus stop in plenty of time
- Wait at your driver designated place of safety
- Take 10 giant steps away from the bus when unloading
- Always follow the driver’s directions for how to cross the street
- Be alert to traffic and look both ways
- If you must cross the street, always cross in front of the bus.
We recognize that school bus transportation is a partnership. Students, parents, bus drivers, school staff and motorists all have to work together to keep our children safe.
Bus drivers help to keep children safe in a number of ways:
- Drivers watch surrounding traffic closely to keep school children safe
- Drivers do their best to follow scheduled routes and times to provide regular and dependable service
- Drivers will help teach their riders safe riding practices.
Students need to know and respect the following:
- Students need to follow the bus driver’s instructions
- Students should know and remember the safe riding rules
- Wait for their bus at designated stops, standing at their driver-designated place of safety
- Move quickly to their assigned seat when boarding the bus
- Remain seated after boarding the bus
- Respect other riders on the bus
- Talk to their bus driver if they have a question or concern.
Here are some ways that parents can help:
- Review the safe riding rules with their children. Help them to understand why each rule is important
- Dress children in light colored clothing or jackets on dark mornings
- Help children to be ready at their stop before the bus arrives
- Take turns supervising bus stops for smaller children
- Do not allow children to wear items that may get caught in handrails, in doors, and on seats. Items such as drawstrings, dangling straps on book bags, and loose clothing can be particularly dangerous.
Thank you for entrusting the safety of your children to our transportation department. With your assistance and support, we will continue to provide safe and effective school transportation services for the community.