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Effingham promoting School Bus Safety Week
Olivia Bowser
Olivia Bowser - photo by Photo provided

Three students represented the Effingham County School System in a statewide poster contest to promote Georgia School Bus Safety Week.

The students won at the county level in their age divisions and advanced to the state competition. Representing Effingham were Jaden Donaldson of South Effingham Elementary School in division 1 (grades K-2), Ravyn Anaya-Jones of Sand Hill Elementary in division 2 (grades 3-5) and Olivia Bowser of South Effingham Middle in division 3 (grades 6-8).

Anaya-Jones took second place in division 2 for the entire state. She will receive a $75 cash prize.

The Georgia Association for Pupil Transportation and the National Association for Pupil Transportation sponsor the school bus safety poster contest each year. The 2014 theme for Georgia School Bus Safety Week is, “Be Smart, Be Seen. I Wait in a Safe Place.”

Schools and safety advocates throughout the state will observe National School Bus Safety Week Oct. 20-24 and Georgia School Bus Driver Appreciation Day on Oct. 20. Students, parents and motorists will be reminded of the important role they all play in ensuring student safety at the school bus stop.

By law, motorists are required to stop for school buses as students board and exit. However, merely obeying the law isn’t enough, according to Larissa Knight, the Effingham County School System’s assistant transportation coordinator.

Children are unpredictable. Therefore, motorists should expect the unexpected as students wait at bus stops and as they get on and off their school bus.

“As motorists, we have a responsibility to exercise care, be on the alert and obey all laws when we are near or at a school bus stop,” Knight said. “The Effingham County School System’s transportation department is pleased to bring attention to this important public safety topic during National School Bus Safety Week.”

Knight pointed out that school buses are equipped with more safety features than other vehicles and are required to meet numerous safety specifications, including state and federal requirements. In addition, all public school bus operators receive rigorous, specialized training on a variety of topics before they can take the wheel behind the big yellow bus.

“When transportation is required, school buses are the safest way for students to get to and from school,” she said. “This week is an excellent time to teach and reiterate to students and parents simple measures they can take while going to and from the bus stop, getting on and off the bus and riding in the bus. It also gives us a chance to thank and honor the professional school bus drivers who devote themselves to transporting our most precious cargo.”

More than one million students reportedly ride a school bus in Georgia twice each day, with more than 26 million school children transported in 480,000 school buses nationwide.