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School bus safety is a top priority

Some Oxford School District parents are especially worried about their children arriving at school and back home safely this year.

The school district has been forced to follow its policy that states if students live within three-tenths of a mile from a bus stop, they need to walk or get a ride to their designated pick-up spot. The district notified parents in May that policy where there used to be some wiggle room was now necessary to enforce due to a hike in enrollment.

Brian Harvey, the school superintendent, said since 2008 the system has taken in 1,000 more students and due to time constraints bus drivers haven’t been able to stop door to door like they used to.

The board is studying pick-up and drop-off locations and using new software and data to analyze the best routes for not only safety, but also time considerations and gas usage.

Children getting on and off a bus along Highway 6, Jackson Avenue or any of the city’s other well-traveled roads is a scary thought for parents, especially given today’s technological age where a speeding driver may be checking his or her email and not paying attention to the road or surroundings.

The school district needs to do everything it can to take care of children entrusted to its care, including picking up and dropping off children riding the bus in the safest area possible, even if it costs a little extra to taxpayers.

Perhaps there is a way for parents to rotate daily or weekly where one available parent is supervising the bus stop near the busy road and keeping an eye on safety. Or maybe one of the parents who attended Monday’s school board meeting has another idea as a way to team up to look out for one another if the school district can’t find an agreeable solution. There are a lot of great minds in Oxford and there’s no telling when a safety idea might be picked up and implemented elsewhere.

Parents have to worry about so much these days when sending their child out into the world, and whether or not their child is going to be struck by a wayward car while getting on or off a school bus should not be one of them.

(“Our View” is an unsigned editorial representing the general opinion of The Oxford EAGLE editorial board, which includes Publisher Tim Phillips, Editor Stephanie Rebman, Managing Editor Rob Sigler, City Editor Alyssa Schnugg and photographer Bruce Newman.)