Keeping students prepared and safe on Acadiana school buses

Photo: KLFY

School bus safety drills are conducted on a regular basis at Lafayette Middle School.  Academic Behavior Coordinator Shelia Anthony oversees the safety drills.  “We go over bus evacuations, drills, explain the exits and time the students exiting the bus,” says Anthony. Anthony says it’s important students are aware of how to behave during an emergency. “Should there be an accident or some sort we want students to know the proper procedures and protocols for exiting,” adds Anthony.

Lafayette Middle Assistant Principal Rollan Moore says safety drills at the school range from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Moore says the plan is to conduct the drills monthly at Lafayette Middle. “Chaos is something we do not want on our campus.  We want to make sure all the students make it smoothly to whatever evacuation site we are going to,” explains Moore

LPSS Director of Transportation Damon Evans says there’s a federal mandate that requires school buses have seat belts, but there’s another mandate that reads as long as it’s affordable. “We have actually taken a look at putting seat belts on a bus.  For us to do so, it might cost us about $5 million total,” adds Evans.  Evans adds seat belts are required on most buses for students with special needs.

Plus, Evans says seat belts on school bus has its pros and cons. “If that bus catches fire, God forbid!  We have waterways, or fall off a bridge, or go in a waterway. Those are situations you don’t want them in a seat belt.  They may not be able to get out the seat belt; that means you’re going to have a bigger tragedy than seat belts on a bus.”

Evans says once students evacuate a school bus they’re instructed to a safe distance at least beyond 150 feet.

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