National School Bus Safety Week is Oct. 21-25, and the Virgin Islands Department of Education reminds students to follow important safety rules while being transported on school buses.
This year’s theme, “My School Bus, The Safest Form of Student Transportation,” was taken from an annual poster contest among students from across the United States last year. That 2018 winning poster was drawn by Shivangi Ojha, an 8th Grader at Belton ISD in Temple, Texas.
St. Croix District Insular Superintendent Carlos McGregor highlighted recent occurrences where students displayed unsafe behavior while riding the school bus.
“Recently, some of our secondary schools have had to address incidents of students throwing personal items out of the school bus at passing vehicles; this negative behavior is highly unbecoming,” he said. “The St. Croix District is respectfully asking parents to converse with their high school children about their behavior on the school bus and encourage good behavior at all times.”
St. Thomas-St. John District Deputy Superintendent Symra Dee Brown, Ph.D., implores students to take riding the school bus seriously.
“In celebration and recognition of National School Bus Safety Week, the St. Thomas-St. John District is calling on all students who ride the buses to and from school to take this mode of transportation very seriously,” she said. “Bus safety not only involves sitting properly, remaining seated while the bus is in motion, and keeping all hands inside the windows, but it also involves listening to the bus driver at all times.”
Brown went on to say that bus safety also includes appropriate behavior before students load the school bus.
“We also urge students to always stay behind the traffic line when waiting on the bus and no horse playing while at the bus stops,” she said. “Riding the bus is a privilege, and we are happy to be able provide this service to keep students safe on the bus.”
Leaders in both school districts pointed to the Halloween season as a time when students are habitually disruptive on the school bus. McGregor reminds students and parents that school bus service will be suspended in neighborhoods where students are found in violation of safe school bus practices.
“Regrettably, around Halloween is when a few individuals chose to throw objects at and from our school buses,” he said. “We wish to advise the public, especially parents, that the bus company, Abramson Enterprises Inc., will stop bus service for areas affected. The St. Croix District wishes to keep the buses running, but safety must come first. We look forward to the full cooperation from students, parents and motorists.”