Student safety top priority for school bus drivers

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TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) – Keeping students and drivers safe on school buses is a priority, no matter the size of a school district.

For Larry Harmon, there can never be too much emphasis when it comes to safety for school bus drivers.

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“Look out for the other person, don’t be in a hurry, I would rather you be two or three minutes late than for someone to be injured,” said Harmon.

As Transportation Director for Tupelo Public Schools, Harmon is in charge of all of the district’s buses, drivers, mechanics and other support staff.

Every day, 74 bus routes take 3,800 students to and from school. Drivers attend regular safety briefings and training throughout the school year.

“January, reflect back on first semester, these things that happened, what areas we need to look at for second semester and after spring break we meet again, say, hey let’s finish year strong, have two more months to go, April and May, these are things we need to start looking out for,” said Harmon.

Every bus driver has a list of safety reminders, things to do in case of bad weather, early dismissal or an accident.

But the priority for any situation is safety of students.

“What we try and do with our drivers is prepare for the unexpected, if there is an accident, our number one priority is to make sure students are safe, so first thing they will do is make sure there are no students injured, they will check all that,” said Harmon.

There are cameras in all TPSD school buses. 40 of the district’s buses are only a few years old, and Harmon said there is another key factor to the safety record.

“We pray three times a day the Lord will cover and protect us, we’re not immune to it, it has happened all around us, but so far God has covered and protected us and we are going to continue to do that,” said Harmon.

A school bond issue unanimously passed by voters several years ago, meaning that no TPSD buses will be more than twelve years old.

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