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Safety on school buses is important

Date Posted: 2004-01-09

Just as your children participate in fire and typhoon drills at school, all students in Kindergarten through sixth grade also participate in two school bus safety programs each year. Regardless if the student rides the bus daily or only for field trips, it is vital they understand their role in making the bus safe and how to evacuate under emergency conditions.

The program is generally scheduled in September or October and again in February or March and usually centers on two topics: Safety at the loading zone/bus stop and emergency evacuations. Professionals from the Okinawa District Student Transportation Offices, who are well versed in school bus safety issues, teach the program.

Most injuries occur at the bus stops or loading zones, so every parent should take the time to reinforce bus safety issues, especially at the bus stops or loading zones with their students. Additionally, parents present at the bus stops should take a proactive stance to make sure safety standards are followed by all of the students.

Here are a couple of tips:

1. Be on time. Donít run to or from the bus. Once the bus is rolling it will not stop.

2. Stand at least three feet from the curb or edge of the road. Even experienced bus drivers are concerned when children are playing in the street or sitting on the curb as the bus arrives.

3. Children need to load the bus in an orderly fashion, using the handrails, donít push and shove and donít yell. Most importantly, on or off load only at the designated bus stop.

4. Place hand carried articles on the studentís lap or the overhead storage racks, never in the aisle or on top of the rear back seat.

5. Never crawl under the bus.

6. Never walk behind the bus.

7. Always cross at least 10 feet in front of the stopped bus.

Abiding by these simple rules will greatly enhance the safety of all the students. Parents are encouraged to take an active roll in bus safety and report any safety issues to either one of the two DoDDS-Pacific Transportation Division Student Transportation Offices: Camp Foster at 645-7820/2036 or Kadena AB at 632-9034/9035.

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