Final preparations for National School Bus Safety Week are being made at school districts and school bus contractors across the country as they seek to raise more awareness of school bus safety among students, parents and communities.
The annual celebration sponsored by the National Association for Pupil Transportaiton is held nationwide throughout the week of Oct. 17-21. School districts and school bus operators are holdin a myriad events from school bus driver breakfasts and barbecues to student poster contests and safety drills. This year’s theme is “Bully Free Zone,” which was also the theme of last year’s NAPT National School Bus Safety Poster Contest for students in all grade levels. NAPT members will select winners next month at the Annual Summit in Kansas City.
Some districts told School Transportation News that they also award special certificates recognizing drivers or other transportation staff for their safety efforts, years of service, clean driving records and perfect attendance.
States are also getting in on the action. Last month, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback declared Wednesday, Oct. 19, as School Bus Drivers’ Appreciation Day across the Sunflower State to coincide with National School Bus Safety Week. Keith Dreiling, state director of student transportation at the Kansas State Department of Education, said the day and week presents an opportunity for school districts to thank their bus drivers for the jobs they do each and every day, especially as a driver shortage grips the nation.
“These men and women dedicate their time and talent to make sure our students are safely transported to and from school and activities,” he said. “This is the perfect time to contact local members of the media and encourage them to include a story on bus safety—including the importance of obeying the law regarding stopped school buses. With a nationwide shortage of bus drivers, you also may want to ask people to consider applying to become a school bus driver.”
National School Bus Safety Week is celebrated across Canada, as well. The Ontario School Bus Association said Oct. 19 is also School Bus Driver Appreciation Day in the province.
“Without a doubt, school bus drivers are a very special and talented group of people who embrace a tremendous responsibility to ensure kids remain safe and out of harm’s way each and every day,” OSBA said in a statement.
Training consultant School Bus Safety Company said it is providing a number of safety materials at zero cost to school district to improve school bus safety. The offer includes complementary copies of the company’s new “Danger Zones Driver Training Program,” PSA videos on school bus safety education and the “Vision, Mission & Values” safety poster that details 15 best practices drivers should follow, and those they shouldn’t.
Zonar Systems told STN that it is highlighting the company’s latest technologies that help children get to and from school safely on the bus.
School bus contractor Durham School Services is raising awaress of school bus safety among students and parents with a new campaign, “Rollin’ with School Bus Safety,” that includes its own tips on safe ridership practices. An infographic helps students “Know Your School Bus Safety” by providing safety messages on how to wait for the school bus and proper behavior on board, including an anti-bullying message.
What plans does your school district or bus company have planned for National School Bus Safety Week? Let us know and send us your photos!