Students learn school bus safety

By Amanda McBride The Choctaw Plaindealer

School bus safety is not only important to the children but to parents, teachers, bus drivers and anyone driving near a school bus.

The Choctaw County School District Transportation Department recently celebrated School Bus Safety Week by teaching students at Ackerman, French Camp and Weir Elementary Schools basic safety standards.

Students loaded the school bus, listened as Morgan Scribner, transportation director, explained how important it is for children to listen to the bus driver then the bus driver explained the safe way to unload and cross the road while watching for their signals.

Students should wait in the yard, or on the bus if they are exiting, then watch for the signal from the bus driver that it is safe to cross the road while looking for oncoming traffic. “Smaller kids need an adult or older sibling out there with them and to hold their hand while crossing the street,” said Scribner about younger children waiting on the school bus in the morning. He added that younger children “need a parent outside to greet their child” as they exit the bus in the afternoons.

During the presentation, two students were chosen to practice these safety standards.

Scribner then explained how students should evacuate the school bus in an emergency. The students and teachers then exited the school bus through the back door as if it were an emergency.

School bus safety is important to anyone-children and adults that come in contact with a school bus. Scribner said everyone should “respect all bus laws.”

“People on the highway need to respect the bus stop and pay attention to flashing lights. If you see a school bus, be prepared to stop at any time,” said Scribner.

School Bus Right-of Way laws from the Mississippi Driver’s Manual (09/2011): YOU MUST STOP FOR A SCHOOL BUS, regardless of your direction, whenever the bus is stopped and receiving or discharging children. You may not proceed until all children have safely crossed the street.

Nathan’s Law, amended Section 63-3-615,

1. (a.) The driver of any vehicle meeting or overtaking any school bus that has stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging any school children shall come to a complete stop at least ten (10) feet from the school bus before reaching the school bus when there is in operation on the school bus the flashing red lights provided in Section 63-7-23, or when a retractable, hand-operated stop sign is extended; the driver shall not proceed until the children have crossed the street or highway and the school bus has resumed motion or the flashing red lights are no longer actuated and the hand- operated stop sign is retracted. (b.) The driver of a vehicle upon a highway that has four (4) lanes or more, whether or not there is a median or turn lane, need not stop upon meeting or passing a school bus that is on a different roadway or when upon a controlled-access highway if the school bus is stopped in a loading zone that is a part of or adjacent to the highway and where pedestrians are not permitted to cross the roadway. 2. (a.) A first conviction there shall be fined not less than Three Hundred Fifty Dollars ($350.00) nor more than Seven Hundred Fifty Dollars ($750.00), or imprisoned for not more than one (1) year, or both. For a second or subsequent offense, the offenses being committed within a period of five (5) years, the person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined not less than Seven Hundred Dollars ($750.00) nor more than One Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($1,500.00), or imprisoned for not more than one (1) year, or both. In addition, the Commissioner of Public Safety or his duly authorized designee, after conviction for a second or subsequent offense and upon receipt of the court abstract, shall suspend the driver’s license and driving privileges of the person for a period of ninety (90) day.