Notice to parents about school bus safety and the use of seatbelts on the school bus.

The Shenendehowa Transportation Department strives to provide students with safe and efficient transportation. However, safety is everyone’s responsibility. It takes the entire Shen team of parents, students, staff, and the motoring public at large working together to ensure a safe ride to and from school.

Each year, the Transportation Department provides a presentation on school bus safety to every elementary school developed by the Shen Education Awareness Team (SEAT), a group made up of Shen’s transportation professionals. 

As part of the safety message, students are encouraged to wear the seat belt that is provided. However, we need your help in encouraging your children to wear that seat belt every day.

New York State Law requires all school buses to be equipped with seat belts; however, the law does not mandate the wearing of seat belts for school buses that weigh 10,000 lbs. or more. State law leaves the decision to mandate seat belt use on large school buses to the school districts. Shenendehowa Central Schools does not mandate the wearing of seat belts on the large school buses; rather we highly encourage our students to wear them.

Seat belts will enhance your child’s safety, and they do have, when worn properly, a positive effect on the overall behavior of students. Without a seat belt, students tend to move around, kneel, stand, and block the aisle. When a student is not properly seated and the bus is involved in an accident, the student who is not properly seated will tend to be at a higher risk for injuries than those who are properly seated and belted in. We ask you to please talk with your child about wearing the seat belt just as they do in your car.

Here are some safety facts which we think you will find informative:

Facts to learn and share:

  • The National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Department of Transportation and other authorities agree that school buses are the safest form of transportation for getting children to and from school.
  • Each day some 475,000 school buses carry 25 million children, more than half of America’s schoolchildren, rarely with any serious accident.
  • Safety features, including the color and size of school buses, height, reinforced sides, flashing red lights, cross view mirrors, and crossing and stop sign arms, ensure children are protected and secure on and off the bus.
  • School bus drivers are highly trained professionals who have your child’s safety in mind. They receive specialized training in student behavior management, loading and unloading, security, and emergency medical procedures.
  • Drivers participate in pre-employment and random drug/alcohol testing, as well as frequent driving record checks. They submit to background checks and periodic medical exams to keep their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) with a School Bus Endorsement.
  • The school bus industry operates by a set of safety, security, health, and driver qualification guidelines that meet, and in some cases exceed, federal and state laws. These ensure that school buses are the safest mode of transportation for our nation’s schoolchildren.

School Bus Safety Tips

For students:

  • Be alert to traffic. Check both ways for cars before stepping off the bus.
  • Make eye contact with the bus driver and wait for the bus driver’s signal before crossing the street.
  • Walk in front of the bus; never walk behind the bus to cross the street.
  • While waiting for the bus, stay in a safe place away from the street.
  • Before leaving the sidewalk, look for the flashing red lights.
  • Never go near or under the bus to retrieve something you’ve dropped.

For parents:

  • Have your child ride the school bus to and from school instead of driving or riding with teenage drivers.
  • Review the safety tips with your child regularly.
  • Get to know the parents of other riders. You will learn about the other children who are riding along with your child.
  • Team with other parents to get involved, and monitor bus stops and bus routes. Voice concerns immediately to your school district.
  • Attend “back to school” nights and tour your child’s school bus.
  • Get to know your school’s transportation coordinator and your child’s bus driver. He or she is a trained professional who sees your child every day.
  • Keep phone numbers handy in case the bus is delayed or in the event of an emergency.