When we talk about health and safety, it doesn’t end in the industrial sphere, it also covers domestic and educational sphere. This is why we will be talking about school bus safety.
I will narrow down this article to the Primary/Secondary schools.
It is a culture now that schools have a school bus to ease the movement of the children both for the parent and the school.
I can recall that in the early 90’s to year 2000 when I was in this academic cadre, the idea of school having a school bus was not well appreciated. Over the years, this idea have gained popularity; parent even consider it as one of the criteria for enrolling their children to a school.
In as much as this idea has been a welcome development, there have been cardinal areas that pose serious risks to the pupil conveyed in these so call school buses.
Area of interest
Some schools that cannot afford enough buses for their student indulge in the act of overcrowding.
I have seen a school bus where the entire pupil stands in order to accommodate more pupil; pupil are stacked like sardine inside these buses.
According to WHO (World Health Organization), overcrowding is a major factor in the transmission of diseases with epidemic potential such as acute respiratory infections, meningitis, typhus, cholera, scabies, etc.
This act also leads to undue stress to the children. I have seen a school bus who picks a child to school by 6.o5 Am, if the child gets to stand till all other pupil are picked up, the child is already exhausted before getting to school and this will affect his/her receptive ability.
- Safe drivers:
Schools should be very selective on who drives the school bus. School bus must not be driven by just anyone who knows how to drive. Some school bus drivers are so reckless.
Don’t forget there may be parents that have up to three (3) kids in the school following the same school bus. If para-venture the bus is involved in a ghastly motor accident, what do you think will happen to such parent?
School bus drivers must be well a trained and experienced defensive driver.
- Bad vehicle condition:
Some of the school buses are in very poor condition. I have equally seen a school bus that looks like a caravan, with very poor ventilation. As a school owner, if you cannot provide an AC bus, at least ensure the vehicle has good ventilation.
Some vehicles emit very high amount of carbon mono-oxide which also leak into the buses, and the children still breathe that in.
Though this article centers on only one but important area “School bus Safety in schools”, it should be taken seriously. It is said – Prevention is better than cure.
Here are my recommendations:
- As a parent or guardian, don’t just be satisfied when the school managements says “We have school buses”. Take further step to assess the bus if it is healthy for your child/children. Check the state of the vehicle, the seating arrangement, the ventilation plan, and any other thing of interest.
- School management should provide adequate number of school buses to meet the number of student they have in order to prevent overcrowding.
- Only well trained and experienced drivers should be allowed to drive the school bus.
- The driving habit of school bus drivers should be tracked. A line of communication should be conspicuously placed on the body of the vehicle, where third party can call and report any poor driving pattern noticed.
- The government should assess the infrastructures in schools intermittently to ensure that the standard used to gain accreditation is maintained. A legal plan should be in place to guard the activities of these private schools, so that any deviation will be punished.
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