New bill would require bus safety lessons for all elementary school students

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Lawmakers are hoping to make getting to and from school safer for children in North Carolina.

“They need to learn how to be safe because not everyone on the road is safe,” said parent Summer Pennington.

Several schools in the East primarily focus on bus safety for younger students. Greene County Schools director of transportation Ricky Whaley said they try to focus on pre-K through second-grade students.

“In the beginning of the year we try to do Buster the Bus or in the middle of the year we try to do Buster the Bus,” said Whaley, referring to an school bus safety program for young students. “That’s a good training for your pre-K through second grade. That’s what we target for. “

This bill would require bus safety education for all elementary school students at the beginning of each school year.

Pennington said you can never have enough safety training especially when it comes to elementary school students.

“I actually drove a school bus for a little while when I was coaching and so kids…they jump off and they run, and they think it’s fine, but it’s not because not everybody is looking out for them, and so they need to look out for themselves,” said Pennington.

The bill would also require the Department of Public Instruction to study how to increase safety procedures when children board and exit a school bus.

If passed, the instruction would start at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year.

The school bus safety instruction would be developed by the state board of education.

The bill passed its first reading and is now headed to the Senate Rules and Operations Committee.

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