MARSHFIELD, Mass. — Residents at a town meeting have passed an article that requires all school buses used by the local school district for regular routes, sporting events and field trips to be equipped with three-point seat belts, The Patriot Ledger reports.
The article was brought forth as a petition by resident Stephen Lynch, and it was passed in an 88 to 73 vote. At the meeting, Lynch amended the article to make it effective in 2016, when the town’s bus contract is up, so that the cost of the seat belts is factored into the bidding process.
Marshfield Public School District Superintendent Scott Borstel told the newspaper that the town would be responsible for paying the additional $300,000 to $600,000 that would be added to the busing contract due to the seat belt requirement. He also noted that school buses are designed to protect passengers, and having students in seat belts "could impact their ability to exit a bus in a safe and timely manner" in an emergency.
Under the article, students will not be required to wear the belts, but Lynch said they would “have the choice to be protected, especially on the highway,” according to the newspaper.
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