The first day of school is fast approaching and soon, early morning school bus rides will replace those extra hours of summer sleep for many Ohio schoolchildren. This is the time for a few words to the parents of those children.
As a parent, you may be busy with back-to-school shopping and wondering what this school year will have in store for your child. However, there is one thing that you should not have to worry about -- your child's safety to and from school.
Eighty percent of Ohio students ride on school buses each day, and nearly 17,000 bus drivers, mechanics, secretaries and supervisors are dedicated to providing safe transportation for your children. National studies show school buses are the safest method for transporting young people -- 30 times safer than passenger cars. Recent reports by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Academy of Science have reconfirmed these data. However, accidents can happen.
Parents play an integral role in making the trip to and from school as safe as possible. Before your young ones climb aboard that yellow bus, make sure they:
UDo not wear loosely fitting or baggy clothing that can get caught in handrails, in swinging doors and on seats;
UGet to the bus stop in plenty of time;
UStay back away from the bus until it is safe to board;
UKnow to remain seated while on the bus;
UKnow that making excessive noise and other nuisances will distract the driver from his/her job of getting the children to school safely.
Pupil transportation safety is a partnership among school transportation staff, parents and students. The combination of these efforts can help keep Ohio's students safe.
SUSAN TAVE ZELMAN
X The writer is Ohio's superintendent of public instruction.