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Spring into school bus safety

Dear Berne-Knox-Westerlo Parents and Guardians,

Students getting off a school busSpring is here! The birds are chirping, the air is warmer and the sun is out longer at night. It’s one of the best times of the year.

This time of year is also one of the most dangerous in pupil transportation. Studies have shown that this time of year is the most dangerous time for our children in regards to school bus safety. The majority of school bus incidents and fatalities occur outside of the bus on the afternoon trip home. To continue in keeping our passengers safe, below are a few reminders for the remainder of the school year. In working together, we can close out another school year safely!

• Children should be at the bus stop waiting for the school bus at least 5 minutes prior to the time the bus is due to arrive. Passengers should wait for the bus; buses don’t wait for passengers! Our buses are not permitted to wait for the students or sound the horn to announce their arrival; if your child is not out at the bus stop waiting, the driver has to move on.

• Stand back at least 15 feet from where the bus will stop. Stand in a single file line if there is more than one student at the bus stop. Do not move until the bus comes to a complete stop, the doors are open and the red lights are on.

• If your child misses the bus and you choose to go to another bus stop, please DO NOT let your child out of the car behind the bus to run up along the side of the bus. The danger zone is the 10 foot area around the bus in every direction. One of the most dangerous areas is the right rear tire area. If you opt to go to another stop, please arrive prior to the bus‘s arrival and make sure the driver sees your child prior to boarding the bus. It is advisable to call the Transportation Department to let us know of your plan, and we can make the driver aware of the situation.

• If your child is not at their assigned stop when the bus arrives, please do not put the driver and the other students in a dangerous position by creating a bus stop. Stops are assigned and accessed for safety and although it may seem like it is a safe spot to have the bus stop at a different location, the drivers have been advised not to stop.

• Backpacks should be on your child prior to boarding the bus.

• Please do not interfere in the crossing procedure. Please do not signal or call to your child to cross the street. Only the bus driver knows when it is safe for their passengers to cross.

• In the afternoon, we cannot discharge our passengers that are in third grade or under without a responsible person at the bus stop – the driver must make eye contact with someone. If there is not a responsible party present, your child will be kept on board and returned to the school. If you wish for your child to get off of the bus without a responsible party present, the request must be put in writing and submitted to the transportation department.

Thank you for working with us in keeping your children safe.


Amy Santandrea
Director of Transportation