Sheriff emphasizes school bus safety


With schools in Jackson County starting up another academic year, it’s important to ensure the safety of students as they are welcomed back to school.

“As we embark on a new school year, the safety of the students in our community remains our utmost priority,” Jackson County Sheriff Rick Meyer said. “One of the most critical aspects of ensuring their well-being is school bus safety. The iconic yellow school bus is an essential part of the educational journey for millions of children, and we must all come together to promote a safe and secure environment for our young learners.”

Drivers who illegally pass a stopped school bus can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine up to $5,000. If that action injures someone, the offense rises to a Level 6 felony, punishable by six months to two and a half years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Recklessly passing a stopped bus and killing someone is a Level 5 felony, carrying a one- to six-year prison sentence and up to $10,000 in fines.

Courts also may suspend driving privileges for someone who violates the stop arm law. Driving privileges can be suspended for 90 days or for up to one year for repeat offenders.

Key points and tips to reinforce school bus safety provided by Meyer:

Ensuring safety begins before the child boards the bus. Parents and guardians should accompany younger children to the bus stop and teach them to stand at a safe distance from the road.

If your child’s school bus is equipped with seat belts, encourage them to wear them throughout the journey. Seat belts can significantly reduce the risk of injury during unexpected stops or accidents.

Emphasize good behavior while on the bus. Distractions and rowdy behavior can distract the driver and pose risks to everyone on board.

When a school bus stops to pick up or drop off children, it is essential to stop, as well, regardless of which direction you’re coming from.

Adhering to speed limits in school zones and residential areas is crucial to ensure the safety of pedestrians, including children, walking to and from the bus stop.

If you notice safety issues related to school buses or bus stops, report them immediately to the school or transportation authorities. Prompt action can prevent potential accidents and improve safety measures.

“Let’s work hand in hand to ensure that every child’s journey to and from school is a safe and pleasant one,” Meyer said. “By instilling good habits, fostering a culture of responsibility and being vigilant on the roads, we can make a significant difference in school bus safety.”

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