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Unexpected Bus Stops

Zachary Waxali, Reporter

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Millions of students are at risk of being stranded on the side of the road every day they use their school affiliated transportation. According to the American School Bus Council, in the United States, over 26 million of 50 million students that attend public and private schools ride school buses. On average, each bus transports nearly 53 students and each and every single student’s safety rests in the hands of a bus driver, hired by the district administrators, and the quality and mechanics of the bus. Despite the preparation and training bus drivers must have before transporting students to and from school, school buses still have the potential to get into accidents and have problems within the mechanics of the vehicle. While many are focused on the safety of students within school, a large area that is overlooked is the safety of students on school buses.

On Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, after two buses left the Clements High School parking lot and turned on to Sweetwater Boulevard, the side-mirrors on each bus collided with one another as they drove along parallel lanes. Both buses ultimately had to pull over, parking along the corner of Sweetwater Boulevard and Alcorn Bayou Drive. One behind the other, they parked, taking up one lane of the street during school zone time and amounting to moderate traffic as students from both Clements and the Honor Roll School were being dismissed.

Because school was dismissed, students who ride both buses were still on board as the collision occurred and remained on board as the buses were pulled to the side of the street. According to Assistant Principal Morgante, the buses were parked for about forty-five minutes- the total time it took to pull the buses over, to assess the situation, and to wait for police to come and surround the buses to prevent cars from stopping behind, facilitating traffic flow.The last step was the final assessment of a Fort Bend Independent School District administrator who asked students and the drivers about the accident and took note of the accident and damages.

Seeing the buses pulled over and not having any knowledge of the accident, many students have questioned whether or not those buses broke down or if there were other problems, especially when multiple police cars are at the scene. Students recall their experiences on buses, majority without seat belts, bumping around on the seats uncontrollably with up to three students per seat, and they have ask themselves a question. How are students guaranteed safety on a bus?

“There is no guarantee,” explained Clements High School Assistant Principal Morgante, “It all comes down to how students behave on the bus.” Students all have access to safety codes and rules to riding the district affiliated school buses. All Fort Bend Independent School District bus drivers have had proper training and are all licensed to drive school buses specifically. The safety of the students on school buses relies on the focus and concentration of the bus drivers.

Bus drivers have to focus on the road as well as focus on what is happening behind them on the bus. They have to prevent students from jumping and wrestling on the bus. The safety of the bus is based on the students’ behaviors. If the students are screaming and yelling, the bus drivers have the potential to lose focus on the road and possibly cause an accident. The same goes for “horse-playing” on the school bus.

Some parents have asked, “Why not have seat belts on school buses? Wouldn’t it help prevent students from jumping around as well?” Some school buses in Fort Bend have implemented school bus seat belts. However, seatbelts limit the number of student per seat from three to two and thus would require more buses in order to have the transportation available to transport all students to their homes. Therefore, at the moment, FBISD will not be adding seatbelts into their school buses.

 

School buses are an important, viable option for student transportation. Many parents cannot take or pick up their children from school, but school buses allow for hard working parents to continue their work and for students to have a way to get home.

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About the Writer
Zachary Waxali, Reporter
I am Zachary Waxali. I am a senior at Clements High School in Sugar Land, Texas. I enjoy playing soccer, especially on the Clements Soccer Team, as well as spending time with friends and family. This is my first year as a writer for CHS Round-Up and I am excited for all the opportunities to...
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Unexpected Bus Stops