Bus safety isn't a one-week topic. It's a year-round subject that connects to many curriculum areas.
More than 22 million U.S. students ride school buses daily, according to officials of the National Safe Kids Campaign. Each year, approximately 390,000 public school buses travel about 4.2 billion miles.
Although school buses are one of the safest ways to travel to and from school, injuries do occur. Sadly, most of those children are struck by their own school buses.
In addition, many more children are injured while in a school bus or while getting on or off school buses. Many injuries happen when children are boarding or exiting because a blind spot extends approximately 10 feet in front of the bus, obstructing the view of the driver. Children are not aware of this blind spot and might mistakenly believe that if they can see the bus, the bus can "see" them.
School bus safety is serious business -- because even one bus-related death is too many. Qualified and well-trained drivers are the main defense against school bus fatalities. That, and children who know the rules -- and obey them.
School bus rules should be introduced to children early in the school year -- not just during National School Bus Safety Week in October. And the bus safety rules should be reviewed often.
Following are a few activities that you might use this month with your students to build awareness of the rules and responsibilities of safe bus riding.
Bus safety rules. Invite students to visit a couple Web sites to compile a list of bus safety rules. Among the sites students might visit are:
Invite each student to select a rule and to make poster to promote that safety rule. Display the posters in the school hallway or busroom.
Science. Read aloud one of the books from the The Magic School Bus series. Or view one of the series' videos.
Geography. On a map of your community, trace the route that the bus takes to school.
Your local office of the American Automobile Association might have for you copies of brochures or activity books on a variety of timely safety topics including school bus safety, bicycle safety, and pedestrian safety. Most brochures are available free of charge. Contact the AAA office in your area.
Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World® Editor-in-Chief
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