By Jaelin Engle
Recently in the state of Indiana, there have been quite a few accidents involving buses and bus stops used for student transportation. According to IndyStar, three children, Alivia, who was nine, along with her twin siblings, Xzavier and Mason, were struck by a truck while they were crossing the street to get onto the bus and were killed on impact. IndyStar then went on explain that another 11-year-old boy named Maverick was sent to the hospital with severe injuries due to the same accident. The bus was stopped and had the stop-arm out but the truck sped through anyway. These are just a few of the many tragic events that have happened involving death or severe injuries to students all over the country.
Several parents, along with transportation and school officials, carry major concern for drivers passing the stop arm of buses. When drivers are reckless enough to disobey the road and the stop arms attached to the buses, they are all putting students’ lives in danger. WCHS administratorsDavid Bechinski discussed the protocol used to catch those who drive past the stop arm on buses.
“All of the buses have cameras now, so if someone blows past the stop arm we get their license plate and we send it to the police immediately so that they can issue a ticket or more harsher punishments if they have a record of offenses,” Bechinski said.
Safety for all of the students and the drivers is extremely important. When it comes to transportation from one location to another, all students should feel safe, along with the drivers. Clark Pleasant Community bus driver Mark Shelton attends meetings involving bus safety.
“We have safety meetings every month. If there are any new protocols or issues, they are brought up then. Our transportation director is very safety minded and listens very well to our concerns or suggestions,” Shelton said.
Starting in the year 2018, bus director Bob Downin along with members of the administration, has started replacing old buses with new ones that have seat belts. This is a new step towards extra protection for the students at WCHS. Bechinski elaborated on bus improvements.
“The main reason I believe is because I have actually seen videos of buses with no seat belts versus buses with seat belts and I mean, the pictures really speak for themselves. In the pictures and videos I watched, students with no seat belts in a crash were flung around everywhere and some faced severe and/or minor injuries. Students with seat belts were perfectly fine. We actually had an elementary bus this year that was in an accident. The bus had seat belts and there was no injuries at all,” Bechinski said.
Seat belts are just one of the many new steps that the school and transportation office have made to ensure student safety. Many of the school buses do not have seat belts but the school has slowly started buying new buses that have this advanced feature.
Junior Shyanna Cummings discussed the rules that were given to her along with what she thinks about this new feature as a student who rides the bus on a regular basis.
“The seat belt has to be across your chest. If you don’t wear it or you don’t wear it across your chest you can get kicked off the bus if it’s more than the first offense. I don’t really have any concerns about the seat belts; it’s just another advance in school safety,” Cummings said.
Making sure that every student is safe and feels safe on the bus or at their bus stop is a important. If any feeling of distress occur, tell a trusted adult immediately.
Bechinski advised students on how to stay safe at bus stops before and after school.
“Make sure that you pay attention to your surroundings. If anything you see raises suspicion, tell your driver. If your bus stop has multiple kids, make sure that you walk home with a few of them and surround yourself with other people. I think if you’re the only one at that stop, the drivers can just drop you off in front of your house so your not walking home alone, all you have to do is ask,” Bechinski said.