Safety is always a priority when Webster Parish’s children return to school.
School buses will be hitting the roads August 12 to transport the parish’s children to and from school, and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Dan Rawls asks parents and motorists to be cautious and aware of their surroundings during the morning and afternoon hours.
He calls them “unsung heroes.”
“Our bus drivers are truly unsung heroes who day after day offer a valuable service by transporting thousands of children safely to and from school under some of the most trying conditions,” he said. “Their dedication and diligence is appreciated beyond measure and we owe them our gratitude for a job well done.”
The bus drivers’ handbook offers rules and regulations that must be followed while driving the bus. They are responsible for not only driving safely but also making sure children are safe while on the bus.
“All students must be seated before the bus begins to move and must remain seated until the bus comes to a complete stop,” according to the manual. “Under no circumstances should a passenger stand, change seats or sit in the stairwell area while the bus is moving.”
The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration offers these tips for students who will ride the bus this year:
When backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage, watch out for children walking or bicycling to school.
When driving in neighborhoods with school zones, watch out for young people who may be thinking about getting to school, but may not be thinking of getting there safely.
Slow down. Watch for children walking in the street, especially if there are no sidewalks in neighborhood.
Slow down. Watch for children playing and congregating near bus stops.
Be alert. Children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street with out looking for traffic.
Learn and obey the school bus laws in your state. Learn the “flashing signal light system” that school bus drivers use to alert motorists of pending actions:
Yellow flashing lights indicate that the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.
Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate that the bus has stopped, and children are getting on or off. Motorists must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop sign is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they can start driving again.
Get to the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.
When the bus approaches, stand at least three giant steps (6 feet) away from the curb, and line up away from the street.
Wait until the bus stops, the door opens, and the driver says that it’s okay before stepping onto the bus.
If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road to a point at least five giant steps (10 feet) ahead of the bus before you cross. Be sure that the bus driver can see you, and you can see the bus driver.
Use the handrails to avoid falls. When exiting the bus, be careful that clothing with drawstrings, and book bags with straps don’t get caught in the handrails or doors.
Never walk behind the bus.
Walk at least three giant steps away from the side of the bus.
If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver. Never try to pick it up because the driver may not be able to see you.
Teach children to follow these common sense practices to make school bus transportation safer.
For more information about bus safety, call the Webster Parish School Board at 318-377-7052. To find your child’s bus, visit the school board’s website at www.websterpsb.org.