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Teddy Trooper visits Fairland East

PROCTORVILLE — Bus safety may not always be the most interesting topic to learn about — especially when you’re 6 or 7 years old, have been in school less than two weeks and are in a gymful of more than 100 of your classmates.

But, Tuesday, students at Fairland East Elementary got a lesson on the topic from two people that held their attention probably longer than most teachers. Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Randy Boggs and the patrol’s mascot, Teddy Trooper, were on hand to give some lessons in bus safety.

Fairland East Principal Peggy Keeney said bus safety is part of the curriculum for every child in kindergarten, first and second grades. Although it is presented every year, Tuesday was the first time the school brought in the special guests.

“We have a real need for this. We are more concerned about bus safety because there are no seatbelts and it’s hard for the kids to stay seated,” she said.

Boggs said bus safety cannot be emphasized enough, especially to youngsters who have a tendency to not think before they act. Keeney agreed.

“It is very important to learn (bus safety) at an early age,” the principal said. “The district has always been very active in keeping our kids safe in every way; on our buses, on our playgrounds and in our buildings. This (bus safety presentation) really goes hand in hand with our other projects.”

Boggs said teaching kids to obey the rules of the bus drivers is one of the most important lessons. He said quickly finding a seat, sitting quietly in the bus seats, and keeping backpacks on students’ laps are the most important rules. Students should always try to get to the bus stop about five minutes early, he said. The should let the driver know if they drop anything — books, bags, papers — near the bus or under it, too.

Another important tip is to wear a backpack on the right shoulder when climbing on the bus and doing the opposite when getting off. Boggs said this is because the safety rail of the bus is usually on the left when getting on the bus.

There has already been one minor school bus accident this year, Boggs said. There is usually an average of one or two a month. And, although the bus drivers in the county are extremely careful, Boggs said drivers who do not pay attention to what they are doing cause most accidents. He said children and adults should be very cautious in school zones and when they see buses in the area.