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Schools share bus safety tips
by Nancy Grindle Correspondent · March 16th, 2017

Warm weather and a touch of spring fever at this time of the year can cause all of us to be a bit more carefree than we were just a few weeks ago. When children come back to school next week after spring break, some schools in the area plan to review school bus safety tips with students. Some may also have students practice evacuating a school bus.

School bus safety is a shared responsibility among parents, students, the bus driver and other drivers, too.

Here are some of the safety tips for students that many bus drivers will discuss with their riders next week. Parents and guardians are welcome to talk with the children about these tips as well.

Avoid loose-fitting clothes and clothes or bags with long strings. Such strings can get caught on the door when entering or exiting the bus.

Pack all school items in your backpack or book bag so you won't drop anything as you get on or off the bus.

Leave home early so you can arrive at the bus stop 5 to 10 minutes before your assigned stop time. (At the beginning of school last fall, parents were told the bus could be as much as 5 minutes early or late.)

Never run to catch the bus. If you miss the bus, go home or contact a parent/guardian.

Walk on the sidewalk if possible. If not, walk single file on the left side of the road and stay close to the edge of the road.

If you must cross a street, first stop, look left, then right, and then left again before crossing the street.

When possible, parents should go to the bus stop with a young child. Older children should walk in groups.

Buses are sometimes delayed by weather, traffic, breakdowns, etc. IF your bus is delayed, please know that your bus WILL be coming.

If a child has to cross the street to the bus:

If a young child, have an adult help the child cross the street.

Always cross at the front of the bus, not the rear. Before crossing, be sure the stop arm and lights are flashing.

Wait for the driver's signal before you start to cross.

Look and listen both ways to be sure it is safe before you cross.

Walk, never run across the street.

Waiting for the bus:

Stay away from the DANGER ZONES around the bus.

Stand at least 10 feet (five giant steps) away from the road while waiting for the bus.

Do not play in the street while waiting for the bus.

Do not push, shove, or play running games at the bus stop.

Boarding the bus:

If you cross the street, wait for the bus to come to a complete stop. Wait for the bus driver to signal you. Check for traffic before stepping out. Cross at least 10 feet (5 giant steps) in front of the bus.

NEVER walk between parked cars when entering the street.

Enter the bus in single file and use the handrail.

If you drop something, LEAVE IT! Tell the bus drive and wait for his or her instructions. Never enter the danger zone to retrieve a dropped object.

Go right to your seat and sit quietly.

As a safety precaution, the last row of seats is not used unless and until all other seats are full.

Riding the bus:

Obey the driver at all times.

Remain seated and face forward during the entire ride.

Keep your feet out of the aisles and off the seats.

Keep your head, hands and books inside the bus at all times.

Talk quietly and avoid loud noises which could distract the driver.

Do not talk when the bus is approaching or crossing railroad tracks.

Be considerate of others and use appropriate language and behavior.

Help keep the bus clean. Do not chew gum, eat food, or drink on the bus.

Report any damage or concerns to the bus driver.

Never play with the emergency exits. Large instruments or sports equipment should not block the aisle or emergency exits.

If there is an emergency, listen to the driver and follow their instructions.

Getting off the bus:

All riders will be discharged only at their assigned stop.

Go directly home.

When unloading, take 5 giant steps away from the bus. If you can touch the bus, you are too close.

If you must cross the street, walk 10 feet forward, stop, and wait for the driver to signal you to cross. ALWAYS cross in front of the bus, NEVER behind it!

Never return to the danger zone around the bus once you have safely crossed.

(Watch for more information in next week's Marion Times. Thank you to both Marion Independent District and Linn-Mar District for sharing the above tips and other activities that will take place with regard to school bus safety.)

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