Students teach school bus safety

From School Reports

The National Association of Pupil Transportation proclaimed the week of Oct. 22-26 as National School Bus Safety Week.

There is no safer way to transport a child than in a school bus. Fatal crashes involving school bus occupants are extremely rare events, even though school buses serve daily in every community — a remarkable 8.8 billion student “to-and-from school” trips annually. Every school day, some 450,000 yellow school buses transport more than 24 million children to and from schools and school-related activities.

Last year, five children were killed as passengers in school buses (one each in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas and Texas).

Last year, 26 children were killed as pedestrians getting on or off a school bus, or while waiting at the school bus stop. Other motorists illegally passing a stopped school bus remain a problem in every community and the school bus industry urges strict police and judicial enforcement against violators. Over the past 10 years, an average of 29 children were killed in school bus-related pedestrian accidents — struck while getting on or off a school bus. Half of the pedestrian fatalities in school bus-related crashes are children between 5 and 7 years old.

School bus safety workshop To educate the kindergarteners and first-graders in Webster County Schools, the Webster County Career and Technology Center Early Childhood students presented a school bus safety workshop at each of the district’s two elementary schools.

During the workshop, the young children were taught the parts of the school bus that enhance the safety while loading and unloading a bus. The children then loaded a school bus following the laws recommended by the National Association of Pupil Transportation.

While on the bus, the Early Childhood students led the children in a song they wrote to remind the children of school bus safety and etiquette. Each child was given a school bus coloring picture designed by the ECE students with the bus safety components to be cut out.

The Early Childhood Education students emphasized the safety of Webster County children also relies on the public obeying school bus laws, and maintaining a safe distance away from the buses while children are loading and unloading.

The Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences estimates that every year more than 800 school-aged children are killed as occupants in other motor vehicles or as pedestrians or bicyclists during “normal school transport hours.” Most of these deaths could be prevented if children rode in school buses.

Parents need to know that driving a child to school—or allowing them to ride to school with other teenagers — is not a safety smart decision — hands down, the school bus is the safest way to and from school. Even worse, allowing a child to drive themselves to school, or riding with other teenagers to school, increases the risk of fatality by 10 percent.

The safety of our children is critically important and we encourage each local parent of our school district to vigorously promote the welfare and safety of every child.

The Early Childhood students developed and presented the project under the direction of Phil Ferguson, director, and Janice Gardner, Early Childhood Education instructor.