yellow buses are back on the roads!
Wanda English Burnett, Editor
Hundreds of Ripley County children will be transported on the big
yellow buses this week as schools across the county get into full
swing. Rose Morton, transportation director for South Ripley schools
wants motorists to be aware that buses will be making frequent,
sudden stops with children loading and unloading. We educate
the students on what they need to do to stay safe and were
hoping motorists will help us out, she told the Osgood Journal.
Some basic rules to follow could mean the difference between life
or death for a child.
Motorists are urged to slow down in school zones. Dont
even travel five miles over the speed limit. This increases the
risk of hitting a child.
Never pass a school bus when its red lights are flashing...not
even on the other side of the street.
Stay focused on driving especially in the morning and evening
when the buses are on the roadways.
Ray Palermo, director of public information for Teachers Insurance
Plan noted, This is a critical time of year. Drivers need
to re-acclimate themselves to having children on and near the road,
particularly at rush hours. He also cautioned parents and
children to get back into their good traffic safety habits.
Palermo offered these tips for children riding the bus:
Do not play in the street while waiting for the bus.
Line up facing the bus, not along side it.
After getting off the bus, move out of traffic.
Wait for the bus driver to signal you to cross the street.
Walk away from the front of the bus so the driver can see you.
Morton noted that some of the buses have a long stop arm on the
front that the students have to walk around. This clearance allows
the bus driver to see the child more clearly.
The schools are required to have all buses inspected. The Summer
Inspection was performed by the Indiana State Police DOT division
and for South Ripley, Morton reports all buses passed.
Another aspect of bus safety is teaching the children how to properly
ride the bus. All of our buses are now equipped with video
cameras, noted Morton, who said that has made a big difference
when settling a dispute.
Children are given a form about the bus rules. This form must be
completed with each students name and grade, the bus number
they ride, their parents signature, address and telephone
number. In the rules children are cautioned about how to enter the
bus, that loud, boisterous indecent conduct will not be tolerated,
students will not be allowed to be rude, discourteous, or annoying
to other students, they must remain seated until the bus comes to
a complete stop, and basically all school rules apply the same to
the bus route to and from school. Remember riding a bus is a privilege,
not a right.
Following the rules makes the bus ride a safer environment and doesnt
distract the drivers attention from the road. Morton says
if parents do have a concern to call her immediately and shell
check the situation out. Communication is the key, she
noted, saying, sometimes things are simply misunderstood.
Saying buses have a lot of blind spots, Morton noted that children
should never pick up something they have dropped as they board or
leave the bus area. We do a safety class the first week of
school showing the children a video, making them aware of the blind
spots, she commented. Children are taught how to evacuate
a bus quickly in case of an emergency. High school students are
taught to help with the younger students, they can use the bus radio
to call for help should the driver be unconscious, they can use
the fire extinguisher and more. Youd be surprised how
much they can really do, the transportation director noted.
Another issue that comes up daily is children who need to go to
a different address than the one they were picked up from. They
simply need a note from their parents with the name and address
of where they should go, Morton said. If it just says
take Johnnie to Grandmas house he might not know
her name, other than Grandma, she laughed, saying it makes
a bad situation.
While it might seem that children have a lot of rules to follow
just to ride to and from school, Morton, who has been at this vocation
for eight years, says, its all about the safety of the
While the job of a bus driver might not be an easy one, its
very rewarding, according to Morton. Ive told my drivers
they can make or break a childs day. I ask them to say good
morning to the children and learn their names.
Morton concluded by saying the school system is in need of drivers
and volunteers. If anyone is interested they can contact her at
the South Ripley Elementary School.