Mayor honors drivers in Bus Safety Week

HOPE – The signing of a proclamation by Hope Mayor Steve Montgomery kicked off School Bus Safety Week in Hope on Monday for some 1,200 Hope Public Schools students who are transported daily by the HPS Transportation Department.

Building upon the National Association for Pupil Transportation theme “My School Bus, the Safest Form of Student Transportation,” the mayoral proclamation recognizes the organized professional efficiency of the HPS student transportation system.

With more than 2,500 passenger trips provided annually by the HPS fleet of 25 school buses and 27 drivers, supported by special education bus attendants, mechanics, office staff and management professionals, the bus fleet covers some 285 square miles daily, according to the proclamation.

“Whereas, school bus drivers safely operate school buses, at times, under difficult conditions; and whereas, Hope Public Schools’ first priority in the transportation department is the safety of students,” the proclamation declares as it marks Oct. 21-25 as School Bus Safety Week in Hope.

Montgomery recalled his school days and the influence of his school bus driver.

“They make an impact for the rest of our lives,” he said.

HPS Director of Transportation and Facilities Maurice Henry said the School Bus Safety Week observance is intended to recognize the contribution of bus drivers.

“So many people depend upon what the school bus driver does,” Henry said. “We are thankful for them and what they do.”

HPS Superintendent Dr. Bobby Hart acknowledged Henry’s point.

“Folks who drive a school bus are special people,” Dr. Hart said. “They take a special pride in their role, and we want to thank them.”

Hart referred to an instance in April when heavy rains in the rural reaches of Hempstead County created flooding along many bus routes during the school day.

“Our bus drivers got everybody home,” he said.

According to School Bus Fleet Magazine, parents of school-aged children said in an industry survey the social interactions involving their children while riding a school bus daily are important to the children and their parents. And, the convenience school bus ridership creates for families is also among the most important aspects of the value of the service, according to the survey.

School bus safety tips offered by the HPS include:

Getting Ready for School

--Have your children put everything they carry in a backpack or school bag so that they won’t drop things along the way.

--Make sure children leave home on time so they can arrive at the bus stop before it is due, ideally at least five minutes early. Running after or in front of a bus is dangerous.

Walking to the Bus Stop

--Walk young children to the bus stop or encourage children to walk in groups. There is safety in numbers; groups are easier for drivers to see.

--Practice good pedestrian behavior: walk on the sidewalk, and if there is no sidewalk stay out of the street. If you must walk in the street, walk single file, face traffic and stay as close to the edge of the road as you can.

--Stop and look left, right and then left again if you must cross the street. Do the same thing at drive -ways and alleys. Exaggerate your head turns and narrate your actions so your child knows you are looking left, right and left.

At the Bus Stop

--Have children wait in a location where the driver can see them while driving down the street. Try to avoid waiting in a house or car.

--Stand at least 10 feet away from the street.

--Do not let children play in the street. Playing with balls or other toys that could roll into the street is also dangerous.

Getting On and Off the Bus

--Warn children that if they drop something getting on and off the bus, they should never pick it up. Instead, they should tell the driver and follow the driver’s instructions.

--Remind children to look to the right before they step off the bus.

--If you meet your child at the bus stop after school, wait on the side where the child will be dropped off, not across the street. Children can be so excited to see you after school that they dash across the street and forget the safety rules.