Rules on the bus go round and round

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Jackson students take refresher course on bus safety.

Sara Gholson, a second grader, rides the bus to and from Orchard Elementary every day, kicking her feet back and forth during her trip because they don't yet reach the floor.

Sara says she feels safe on bus, but she paid close attention to the safety tips Buster the Bus and bus drivers told her and her classmates during Tuesday's bus safety refresher course.

Buster stands for Bus Teaching Elementary Riders. Buster is a 3-foot tall plastic miniature mechanical bus that "talks." The person speaking for him also controls Buster by remote control.

Buster will make his rounds to all of the schools in Jackson by the end of next week. This is the fifth year Buster has gone to all of the schools.

The lesson teaches students to make sure they look both ways before crossing the street and reminds them of what the flashing lights mean.

Yellow means the bus will be stopping soon and red means the bus is dropping off students.

Sara is one of 3,000 Jackson students in kindergarten through 12th grade who ride the bus every day, according to Carol Woods, transportation director with the Jackson School District.

Using a knotted red rope, the bus drivers teach the students a 10-step by 10-step rule. Ten steps out the door and ten steps to the front of the bus ensures the driver can see the child.

"We're trying to teach them to take five giant steps or 10 steps and we're teaching them to wait for the driver's signal to cross," Woods said.

Woods said there are very few bus stops in Jackson where children have to cross the road.

In addition to Tuesday's safety refresher course with the elementary students, bus drivers also attend monthly workshops. October's workshop focused on the different kinds of bullying.

Drivers were reminded to listen carefully and report any instances of bullying, Woods said.

Future workshops will include hostage situations and rescue techniques when smoke is filling the bus.

ameyer@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 127

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