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Bemidji Area Schools: School bus safety is for everyone

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National School Bus Safety Week begins Monday, Oct. 19.

With approximately 4,000 students riding buses every day in Bemidji, it's an important week for drivers to remember to play it safe around buses.

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According to the Minnesota Association for Pupil Transportation, each year more than 800 students nationally are killed going to and from school.

Minnesota requires specific grade levels in schools to perform school bus safety training each year, said Greg Liedl, transportation coordinator of Bemidji Area Schools.

In the early 1990s, the MAPT, the National School Transportation Association and the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services joined forces to form the National School Bus Safety Week Committee, which designated the third week in October as National School Bus Safety Week.

One of the main showpieces of Bus Safety Week is the National SBSW Poster Contest. This year's national bus safety theme is "Avoid harm, obey the arm."

Thousands of school districts in more than 40 states participate in local- and state-level competitions to select artwork that encourages and promotes school bus safety.

At a local level, Liedl wants to remind school bus passengers to dress for the weather.

The majority of students who ride the bus are dressed appropriately for winter weather, but frequently drivers see the last kid out the door will be wearing a T-shirt and sandals, Liedl said.

"You never know if the heater in the bus could quit working unexpectedly or, after being dropped off, a kid finds out the house is locked and it's 30 degrees below zero outside," Liedl said.

With the pipeline construction still active around many parts of Bemidji, Liedl said bus drivers also have a lot more to think about this year.

"We have deal with more street closures and rerouting," he said. "We want to keep it safe for everyone."

School bus trivia

The following school bus trivia questions were provided by Bemidji Area Schools District office secretary Judy Emery, with answers provided by Greg Liedl:

1. How many square miles do Bemidji school bus routes cover?

A. 100 square miles.

B. 500.

C. 825.

2. How many counties do Bemidji school buses deliver to? What are their names?

A. Three.

B. Four.

C. Five.

3. What is the significance of the buses with the white roofs? 

A. They ordered the wrong color, and will soon be painted glossy yellow.

B. It was a more economical.

C. It keeps the school bus cooler in the summer.

4. How many students (on average) ride Bemidji school buses every day?

A. Approximately 4,000.

B. Approximately 2,000.

C. Approximately 1,750.

5. When a school bus has its red flashers on, how far away should cars stop from that bus?

A. At least 20 feet away from the bus.

B. At least 30 feet away from the bus.

C. At least 40 feet away from the bus.

Answers

1. C; 825 square miles.

2. A; Beltrami, Hubbard and Cass counties.

3. C; special needs buses have white roofs to help reduce the temperature in the bus when the buses are used for summer school.

4. A; Bemidji buses transport approximately 4,000 studentevery day.

5. A.

awilliams@bemidjipioneer.com

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