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Take note of national school bus safety week

This week is national school bus safety week.

Students will learn about arriving at the bus stop five minutes early, standing 10 feet away from the edge of the road, waiting to get on the bus until the driver says OK, watching out for dangling book bags or drawstrings near the door and to always walk in front of a bus instead of behind.

While safety tips may be passed out, there is not a grand push for large-scale events at local, state or national levels to commemorate this week, so the National School Transportation Association and several other entities sponsor activities and get the word out in smaller ways to be mindful of school bus safety.

The main way the week is commemorated is with contests for children so that they have hands-on learning about school bus safety. Each year there is a poster contest and speech contest. There are several divisions for the contest, ranging from kindergarten through eighth grade, including special education. There’s also a division for Computer Aided Drawing. Each year winning posters are selected and those children receive a financial award. Since every child has a different type of bus stop and morning routine, and each child has different safety rules ground into their heads by parents, a poster contest is a fabulous way to engage the children creatively and get a wide variety of perspectives.

To not leave the older students out, there is a speech contest for grades nine through 12. Each state puts together the contest on paper and video and students can advance to regional and possibly national competition, again with financial rewards.

These days there are a ton of contests that entities offer to the schools, whether it is the NSTA, D.A.R.E. or dozens of local nonprofits in the L-O-U area. While teachers have desks that are overflowing with work and are trying to teach using new criteria like Common Core, each contest helps the child learn a little bit more, and it’s something that could be extra credit or possibly incorporated into a daily lesson. They are just one way for the community to help raise a child and try to impart as much knowledge as possible before children leave the walls of school and venture out into the real world as adults.