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School Safety Topics

Transportation Safety

School safety begins before children arrive at school, and it doesn’t end until they arrive safely back home. More than twenty million students nationwide rely on school buses to transport them to and from school and school-related activities. Many older students, whether they are the driver or not, travel to school in personal vehicles, yet approximately half of all teens will be involved in a car crash before graduating from high school. Being aware of the risks associated with transportation in all its forms is the first step in prevention.
a female teen smiles in the driver seat of a dar

Understanding the Issue

School Buses

Statistics indicate that school bus transportation is very safe, in fact, six times safer than car travel. While it's essential that we do everything possible to lessen the risks of school bus accidents even further, the greatest risk is not riding the bus, but approaching or leaving it as a pedestrian. While there has been a concerted effort by many Maryland law enforcement agencies to crack down, for example, on drivers who pass a stopped school bus, it is essential that parents and children know traffic rules and adopt additional safety precautions, too.

Students must also be taught responsible behavior and self-control on the bus and at bus stops at all times. School buses are an extension of school, and students are expected to adhere to the same standards of behavior on a school bus as in the classroom, and that includes obeying the instructions of the bus operator just as they would a teacher or administrator. Disorderly conduct can threaten the safety of all riders by distracting the bus operator making the bus ride to and from school an unpleasant and even intimidating experience for other students.

Car Travel

Students who travel to school by car face the everyday hazards of the road, either as passengers or even more so, as drivers. The statistics regarding teen drivers are daunting -- especially when texting and other risky behaviors are factored in. But the reality is that teens crash most often because they are simply inexperienced, which means they struggle with turning safely, judging gaps in traffic and driving the speed that conditions warrant, among other things. Regardless of how students get to and from school, it is important to help them do it safely.

  • What should kids know about school bus safety?
    At the bus stop, students are expected to:
    • Arrive five minutes before the scheduled time.
    • Maintain an orderly line in preparation to board the bus promptly, without shoving or pushing.
    • Stay out of the roadway.
    • Be considerate of nearby yards, driveways, houses, buildings, and private property.
    • Move toward the bus only after it stops and the driver has signaled that it is safe.
    On the bus, students are expected to:
    • Behave appropriately, just as if they were in a classroom.
    • Keep the aisle and emergency door clear of obstructions.
    • Keep their arms, feet, and head inside the bus at all times.
    • Be seated and make room for others to sit as well. Once ridership has been adjusted at the beginning of the school year, standing is not permitted.
    • Discard trash in appropriate containers.
    • Learn more at: Ride by the Rules
    On returning home, students are expected to:
    • Walk 10 feet in front of the stopped bus, if they must cross the road, and cross only after the bus operator has indicated that it is safe.
    • Refrain from trying to direct traffic upon leaving the bus.
    At all times, students may not:
    • Bring animals, alcohol, drugs, tobacco, weapons, glass containers, or explosives on the bus.
    • Use vulgar language or gestures, fight, or engage in sexual harassment or other improper and/or illegal conduct.
    • Throw any papers or objects in the bus or out the windows.
    • Operate the emergency door without permission.
    • Smoke, drink, eat, or play radios without headphones.
    • Damage or deface any part of the bus.
    • Ride a different bus than the one they have been assigned to, unless they have written permission from a parent and permission from the principal.
    Large objects that cannot be held on a student's lap, such as some musical instruments, class projects, etc., should not be transported on the bus. Parents should make other arrangements to transport such items to and from school. Bus operators and attendants may assign specific seats to students.

    (Source:Montgomery County Public Schools)
  • What are the consequences of school bus misconduct?
    The bus operator notifies the principal of details pertaining to a disciplinary problem with a student on the school bus. A bus operator may return a student to the school, or call the police, if the student poses a serious threat to the safety and health of other riders. Students who violate the behavior and safety rules may have bus-riding privileges denied temporarily or permanently by the school principal in accordance with the following procedures:
    • The principal will warn the student of the possibility of denial of bus-riding privileges.
    • If the disciplinary problems continue, the principal will confer with the parent/guardian and student prior to the suspension of riding privileges or, depending on the severity and nature of the behavior problem, suspend riding privileges immediately. The principal will notify the parent/guardian in writing of complaints received and the suspension of the student’s riding privileges.
    • The student's riding privileges may be restored by the principal after a conference with the student and/or parent and consultation with the transportation supervisor. The principal will notify the bus operator in writing of the reinstatement of the student's riding privileges.
    In addition, students may be suspended from school as a result of misconduct on buses or receive lengthy bus riding suspensions for serious infractions.

    (Source:Montgomery County Public Schools)
  • What are the statistics on teen drivers?
    Teen Drivers:
    • 33% of deaths among 13 to 19-year-olds in 2010 occurred in motor vehicle crashes.
    • 16-year-olds have higher crash rates than drivers of any other age.
    • 56% of teens said they talk on the phone while driving.
    • Statistics show that 16 and 17-year-old driver death rates increase with each additional passenger.
    • Only 44% of teens said they would definitely speak up if someone were driving in a way that scared them.