School begins - motorists urged to play it safe - August 16, 2006
Fort Wayne Community Schools' students and staff shouldn't be the only ones setting their alarms a bit early on Monday. With nearly 250 big yellow buses taking to the roads and thousands of students walking to bus stops or to their neighborhood schools, it would be well advised to everyone who needs to head out Aug. 21 to leave a few minutes early. The first day of school is very exciting and sometimes a little overwhelming for children who may not be paying as much attention as they should. Plus, our students and buses haven't been out for a few months, so motorists may have gotten use to cruising along without the extra traffic, said Superintendent Dr. Wendy Robinson. With this in mind, we are asking the community to join us in keeping a watchful eye out for our students. Helping keep kids walking to bus stops and schools safe has been a priority with City of Fort Wayne Firefighters, who will begin the 10th year of their FIRE (Firefighters Involved as Residential Eyes program next week. Developed and initiated by the City of Fort Wayne in 1996, FIRE has firefighters randomly patrolling neighborhood streets around FWCS elementary schools during the morning and afternoon hours when children are traveling to and from school. Cruising in their bright red pumper trucks, ladder trucks and other vehicles, firefighters provide a highly visible, adult presence to assist children and to deter crime. Firefighters are a trusted part of our neighborhoods, we are delighted they are contributing in yet another way to the good of the children in this community, said Dr. Robinson. FWCS transportation officials are asking motorists to be extra watchful - and patient - Monday. And a reminder that when the stop arm of the bus is out, it means ALL lanes of traffic are to come to a complete stop. Do not begin moving again until the stop arm is back in place and the bus has started to roll. Last year more 25,215 students, or 80 percent of the district's enrollment were transported to and from class by school bus - compared to only 32 percent of students in 1978. During the 2005-06 school year, FWCS buses logged an impressive 3.5 million miles.
Transportation officials are asking parents to help ensure a safe ride for everyone by discussing the following safety procedures with their children: When riding the bus - * Observe the same conduct as in the classroom. * Be courteous, use no profane language. * Cooperate with the driver. * Stay in your seat. * Do not be destructive. * Keep head, hands and feet inside the bus. * Do not yell or scream on board the bus. * If child has a problem, inform the bus driver or school official. While waiting at the bus stop - * Do not horseplay or act in a way that could cause harm to others. * Do not play in the street. * Do not throw things. * Arrive at the bus stop no more than 5 minutes prior to scheduled bus arrival. * When the bus arrives, line up in an orderly fashion, away from the curb and do not push or cut in line. * Stay back from the bus until it stops, and the driver signals it's OK to get on. Staying safe when crossing the street... * Always obey all traffic rules. Never cross against the light. * Look left, right, then left again before you cross. * Cross in a crosswalk. If there is no crosswalk, cross at the corner. * If the crosswalk has a WALK and DON'T WALK sign, only cross when the sign says WALK. In addition, the district would like to remind parents to check out the FWCS School and Bus Status web page where they can simply click on the school their child attends and, if they know the bus number, be able to check if it is running on time or if it is delayed by 15 minutes or more. The page is updated continually during the time buses are on the road, as bus drivers radio into dispatch where the page is updated. The FWCS School and Bus Status link can be found on the district's web site at: www.fortwayneschools.org FWCS school hours are: Elementary schools - 8:50 a.m. to 3:20 p.m. (Bunche - 8:10 a.m. to 2:20 p.m.) Middle schools - 7:55 a.m. to 2:35 p.m. (Memorial Park - 7:40 a.m. to 2:35 p.m.) (Towles Intermediate - 8 a.m. to 2:35 p.m.) High schools - 8 a.m. to 2:35 p.m.