Our Concord Road School Buses Need Bus Monitors to Keep Our Kids Safe
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We, the undersigned, write this letter to Superintendent Dr. Lauren Allan and the Ardsley Board of Education urging that the Board place bus monitors on our elementary school buses as soon as possible.
A large portion of Concord Road students use the school bus to get to and from school. The school bus stop is by far the most dangerous place for children traveling on school buses. According to the Pupil Transportation Safety Institute, “Four out of every five children killed at the bus stop while the bus was on the scene were killed while in the process of boarding or departing their school bus.” Without a monitor disembarking with the students at the bus stop, there is increased risk of preventable accidents and injury.
In addition to the safety concerns at the school bus stop, there are many other benefits of having bus monitors traveling with our children. At Concord Road, children may be on the school bus as young as 4 years old attending kindergarten without any prior bus riding experience. These children need help buckling their seat belts, sitting properly in their seats, and engaging appropriately with other children. They are not yet equipped with the skills to socialize unsupervised. As the children grow older, aggressive behavior and bullying, both physical and psychological, in the confined area of the school bus increases, which may lead to absenteeism from school, dropping grades and poor concentration in class. All these things affect the learning process and disrupt our children's educations. According to the National Association for Pupil Transportation's White Paper on Bullying, "School bus drivers are very limited in what they can do when a behavioral incident occurs on their bus because dealing with it could involve the safe operation of the bus." A report released by a manufacturer of school bus surveillance equipment quoted that over ninety-percent of the crashes involving school bus driver error can be attributed to the bus driver distracted by student misbehavior on the school bus.
Traffic problems throughout the Rivertowns are widespread. Parents that don’t feel comfortable sending their kids on the bus, and don’t feel that their concerns have been properly addressed, are left without a choice but to drive their kids to and from school. Increased traffic without the infrastructure to support it, can cause many unnecessary accidents.
The vast majority of our direct, neighboring school districts see the value of supervision and have maintained monitors in some capacity on their school buses: Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow (Kindergarten), Dobbs Ferry (K – 5), Irvington, Greenburgh (K – 12), Elmsford (pre-K – 6) and Pocantico Hills (pre-K – 8).
While we understand the need to present a responsible, balanced budget to the community, the safety and well-being of our children must be paramount.
Dr. Allan and the Board, we have entrusted our most cherished assets, our children, in your hands and we respect all that you do for them. On this occasion, we find it important enough to write to you to implore you to implement school bus monitors and continue the good work of keeping our children safe.
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