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Roxbury Schools Holds Annual Bus Safety

NEWS RELEASE

Roxbury Schools Holds Annual Bus Safety

Roxbury Transportation Safety Team in front of school bus after drill

ROXBURY, NJ (November 6, 2018) – The Roxbury Township School District conducted their annual Bus Safety Drills during the month of October at each of the K-6 schools in Roxbury which included Franklin, Jefferson, Kennedy, Nixon, and Lincoln/Roosevelt Schools. 

•	Jefferson School Holds Bus Safety Drill Roxbury Transportation Director Janine Byrnes added, “We also provided Bus Safety Drills to all the schools we provide transportation for like Mt. Arlington Public School, Edith M. Decker School (MAPS), and St. Therese.” 

These trainings were conducted by the Roxbury Transportation Safety Team comprised of district bus drivers Wendy Oakes, Rob Katz, Diane Decot, Jayne Elliott, Melanie Cole, Maribel Rivera, and Julie Meola under the direction of Byrnes. 

Only in its second year, the Bus Safety Drills are becoming a staple within the Transportation Department. “Drivers signed up last school year to help pilot the program. They have all remained dedicated to it. They are all leaders of the department with excellent skills teaching and behind the wheel. Our Safety Team is unmatched. They take pride in their jobs here in Roxbury and love working with the students,” said Byrnes. 

The Roxbury Transportation Department made sure all students in the school rotated through stations that covered topics such as bus stop arrival and safety, bus behavior expectations, and bus emergency procedures. Every student attended the program even if they do not ride a bus to school as buses are used for trips and extracurricular activities. 

Bus Safety Team member Julie Meola covers on bus safety and rules “Students learn from repetition. Every fall is the perfect time to remind them to be safe during the ride to and from school,” shared Byrnes. 

Adding, “This program brings an interactive approach to everyday bus safety. Proper crossing, loading and unloading the bus, positive behavior, emergency procedures and evacuations are the focus.” 

Prior to starting the drills, the Safety Team explained danger zones, blind spots, and the importance of being on time for the bus even having the kids all say out loud in unison, “I will be at my bus stop five minutes early each day.” 

Before boarding the buses, the drivers explained that if students drop anything on the ground that they shouldn’t pick them up when crossing as the bus drivers and other drivers can’t always see them. “The dropped item can be replaced, you can’t be!” 

A good rule of thumb the drivers use for students when picking them up is their thumbs. Before students cross the street, they are to look both ways and look for the bus driver’s thumbs up to give them go ahead that it is safe to cross. 

Roxbury Transportation Safety Team Member Rob Katz and First Grader Levi Spencer at Kennedy School Once on the buses, Safety Team members went over bus behavior expectations. Julie Meola explained to a group of sixth graders at Lincoln/Roosevelt School the importance of keeping the aisles clear and their seatbelts on, staying in their seats while the bus is moving, along with not being loud as drivers need to be able to hear their Dispatcher in case there is a problem. Another point of importance Meola shared is that there is no eating or drinking allowed on the buses. “This doesn’t really have much to do with making a mess but I have more than one run with different schools on this bus and we have to be aware that just because you may not have an allergy doesn’t mean the next person riding in your seat doesn’t.” 

Following bus behavior expectations was an emergency evacuation drill. Students were told and showed the various evacuation points within the bus like the windows, roof hatches, front door, and rear door. Each child evacuated out of the rear of the bus as part of the drill. 

Byrnes went on to say, “This program is interactive and time is built-in for students to ask questions. A greater understanding of the need for rules related to buses are established. The staff benefit daily with better loading and unloading procedures and better behavior on field trips. The community as a whole will benefit as valuable safety training is implemented.” 

The Roxbury Transportation Department is committed to safe and efficient busing for the students. “We need to ensure our students safety from bus stops, crossing streets, basic behavior, and emergency situations. The safety of our students is the transportation department’s primary focus.” 

In addition to the student training, the department has created a few best practices for safety which include a handbook outlining procedures related to safety. “We will hold the student safety program every October. Evacuation drills will be held twice a year. Emergency training prior to departing for any trip or sports event will occur along with monthly safety meetings. Wendy Oakes also works with drivers and mentors new hires.” 

LRS Bus Evacuation Drill As an added safety measure, Roxbury Transportation has installed Zonar Systems to monitor the vehicles both behind the wheel and its maintenance. This system is not only great for safety but also for the environment as it can monitor idling times and help the district reduce that time. 

All Roxbury Township Public School drivers hold valid CDL licenses with proper endorsements. Department trainings are held throughout the year to provide staff with updated safety protocols pertaining to school transportation. 

“The community will benefit from the commitment of continued excellence in the Roxbury Transportation Department. We take pride in transporting the Roxbury children safely to and from school,” shared Byrnes. 

The Roxbury Township Transportation Department has a webpage at https://www.roxbury.org/domain/34 that will provide additional information in understanding transportation rules. On the site, it states, “Please be part of the team and assist our expectations by going over these rules with your child/children. We are committed to providing a safe and efficient transportation program. Safety is the combined effort of parents, students, and district personnel. Rules are in place and enforced for a reason—safety.” 

PHOTO ATTACHED (courtesy of Roxbury Schools)

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For more information, contact: Roxbury Community School/Community Relations Coordinator Ann Rhodes at arhodes@roxbury.org or 973-584-7699.

ABOUT ROXBURY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Roxbury Public Schools is a K-12 school district preparing the children of today for tomorrow. As a dynamic and thriving district, in partnership with a supportive and collaborative community, Roxbury Public Schools inspires and empowers all learners to flourish as ethical and global citizens in the 21st century. The district serves students throughout Roxbury Township, New Jersey, including the areas of Landing, Kenvil, Succasunna, Ledgewood, Mount Arlington, Port Morris, Flanders, and Wharton. Connect with us online at www.roxbury.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RoxburyPublicSchools.