NORTH COLLINS, N.Y. -- When do children feel safe on the school bus?
The North Collins Elementary School transportation department posed that question to students from second through fifth grade as part of National School Bus Safety Week a couple of years ago.
Transportation Supervisor James Hourihan said that children were encouraged to respond freely and openly. Their comments were posted in the school hallway for all to review.
Here are the most common types of responses the students gave in completing the sentence "I feel safe on my bus when ..."
1. Noise level - when it's quiet.
2. Where they sit and with whom - when I'm next to a big kid, when I'm in the front near the driver, when I'm seated in the middle.
3. Positive social interactions - when everyone is nice to everyone else, when no one makes fun of me.
4. Contact with the outside world - when I can hear the driver talk on the radio to the school, when the radio is playing.
5. Weather - when it's sunny outside, when it's not snowing.
6. Darkness vs. daylight - when I can see and it's light.
7. Driver - when I have the same driver every day, when the driver knows the route, when the driver doesn't yell, when the driver can hear.
Hourihan noted that only one student out of the 200 who participated said that he or she never feels safe on the bus because, the student wrote, "at any given place and time, anything can happen."
Hourihan said he often looks back over the students' comments "to remind myself how everything we do as drivers and supervisors impacts the safety of our students."