School Bus Safety Co. recognized Kanawha County (W.Va.) Schools for its extensive training efforts. Seen here, maintenance staff and supervisors went through training during installation of fire suppression systems.

School Bus Safety Co. recognized Kanawha County (W.Va.) Schools for its extensive training efforts. Seen here, maintenance staff and supervisors went through training during installation of fire suppression systems.

HUDSON, Ohio — A school bus safety and training company here announced the winners of its month-long Share Your Safety Story initiative, and recognized them as the next “Safety Superstars” in the school transportation industry.

School Bus Safety Company Inc. (SBSC) received submissions from school districts and school bus companies across North America during the month of April. The submissions were reviewed by a panel of SBSC safety experts. Winners were chosen based on innovation, inspiration, and the positive impact they are making by going above and beyond to set a new safety standard within their organization.

“We received so many inspirational and impressive submissions about people in the industry doing amazing things as it relates to safety,” said Chris Walls, president of SBSC. “This community and customer effort really shed some light on the great work that is being done to make the industry safer and, most importantly, to keep kids safe.”

The overall winner was Kanawha County Schools in Charleston, West Virginia. The school system is the largest in the state, serving over 26,000 students. The school system earned its Safety Superstar status through its effort to keep students safe by providing extensive training to its drivers and aides throughout the year.

“We are so pleased to be named the top Safety Superstar by School Bus Safety Company,” said Jimmy Lacy, supervisor of safety and training for Kanawha County Schools. “We really appreciate everything that SBSC does for our industry. So to be chosen by their panel of experts as the overall Safety Superstar winner is a testament to all of the dedication and hard work that the transportation team at Kanawha County Schools puts forth for our students and the community, every day.”

Each year, drivers, aides and mechanics at Kanawha County Schools are required to have a minimum of 18 hours of in-service training related to their job. The district accomplishes this by providing special-needs training, railroad crossing training, student loading and unloading refresher training, pre-trip training, and personal safety training. The school system also holds bi-weekly safety meetings with its staff at each terminal, conducts fire emergency evacuation drills, and holds active shooter trainings on a school bus and practices ways to disarm a shooter.

Other organizations placing an emphasis on safety were recognized by SBSC as well. Orange County (Fla.) Public Schools has implemented safety messages from the maintenance shop each time a driver calls to check on a bus’s repair status and will be holding a safety campaign with a different theme each month beginning with the 2018-19 school year.

The new safety manager at Hammonds Transportation in New Orleans, Louisiana, took a personal approach to relating safety awareness to her drivers, bringing in accident survivors to discuss the consequences of distracted driving, among other real-life tactics, and the team has now had more than 130 days of accident-free service.

Greenville County Schools in South Carolina created a training program for all special-needs drivers and aides with a manual, equipment training, traits and strategies for different disabilities, emergency medical training, hands-on training, a yearly testing process, and a support team.

The Hawaii State Department of Education’s student services branch implemented the SOAR initiative (Safe, Orderly, and Respectful), led by bus drivers to help better reach elementary school students and emphasize the importance of safety while boarding, riding, and getting off the bus.

Marietta (Ga.) City Schools has coordinated its safety training efforts with the Georgia Department of Education, and has implemented a permit class to assist driver candidates in the process of obtaining their commercial driver’s license (CDL).

Additional winners include:

•    Hunterdon County (N.J.) Educational Services Commission
•    Stock Transportation in Ontario, Canada
•    All-Star Transportation in Waterbury, Conn.
•    Springfield (Mo.) Public Schools
•    Richmond County (Ga.) School System
•    Garland (Texas) Independent School District
•    Chandler (Ariz.) Unified School District
•    Fowler Elementary School District 45 in Phoenix, Arizona
•    Pomona (Calif.) Unified School District

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