ABILENE, Texas - The start of a new school year is just weeks away but before your child hits the books, many of them will be hitting the bus-some for the very first time.
Director of AISD Transportation Randy Gover says safety is number one on their list, starting with the drivers.
"We make sure the drivers are trained properly. Drivers go through extensive training procedures both with DPS and The Education Service Center. We also do in-house training on an ongoing basis," said Gover.
Another safeguard on the bus: security cameras, which the school says is a big help with the ongoing issue of bullying.
"Bullying is a topic of training that we do focus on to make sure the drivers understand the signs of that a student may be bullied so drivers can intervene. A lot of times children don't want to tell an adult until the situation is out of hand, so we train our drivers to be looking out for the signs the child may be in a situation that they're bullied," said Gover.
But the school says it's also up to the parents. They need to be extra alert when getting kids to and from the bus stop.
"Most of the time when children are injured it's when they're getting on or off the bus. That's the most dangerous part of the ride. We've had our children running toward the bus before the bus stops, being out in the street or leaving the bus and walking in an area that's too close," said Gover.
Bus driver of almost 20 years and AISD Safety Trainer, Jean Harrison asks everyone for one thing when they see school buses on the streets:
"If you ever see a bus and it's slowing down slowdown too. Somebody's bound to be getting on or off that bus. We don't want kids to get hurt when they're getting off the bus. That's our biggest scare and we've had some new misses. You've gotta stop. These kids lives are in your hands," said Harrison.
A few more reminders for parents from the district: if your child is little be sure that you or a designated family member is with them at drop off and pick up. If your child is new to riding the bus, make sure they know the number of the bus they should be on. Finally, be there at least five minutes early, so that kids aren't rushing or running which could cause them to trip and fall in the street.
Here are some other ways AISD makes sure kids are safe on the bus. Before and after every bus route the drivers have to inspect their vehicle. Drivers are trained to spot any suspicious activity and if they see something of concern, they report it to the transportation headquarters via radio and the police are called immediately. Drivers are also trained to pull over if they ever feel overwhelmed if an incident occurs on a bus that requires their attention.
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