Target: Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education Arne Duncan
Goal: Require that all public school buses have working seat belts and require them to be worn on all students and drivers.
A tragic school bus accident occurred in Houston, Texas after a Furr High School bus was hit by a car and fell off the edge of a highway overpass. Two students were killed and the rest of the passengers, two students and their driver, were injured. This is only one of the many school bus accidents that have been in the news in the past few years, as an average of nineteen children each year are killed in school bus crashes.
School buses are worryingly precarious contraptions because of their size and their efficiency-focused design, needing to fit a large amount of children into a confined space that is still small enough to be driven with stability and control. In the city where this accident took place, the driver was only required to participate in ten to twelve hours of training to drive this vehicle. Demand that school bus passengers be required to wear seat belts while riding as they are in every other road-safe vehicle.
To the United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan:
Public school systems, while expected to educate children in preparation of their futures and aspirations, are also expected to keep these children safe while under the care and supervision of the school. Unfortunately, the same level of safety is not being applied to every aspect of the current school systems. Every year, an average of nineteen school- age children die in school bus crashes, either as a passenger or a pedestrian. In the ten-year period between 1998 and 2008, over 1,500 people were killed in school bus crashes, and a quick look through the news shows that the accidents didn’t stop there.
Just recently, a bus crash that involved the bus driving off the edge of a highway at speeds estimated by witnesses of over 50 miles an hour occurred. Two children were killed and the rest of the passengers were injured. For almost 50 years, seat belts have been required for passengers in all motor vehicles, and there is no reason why it is just as, if not more, important to enforce this law in school buses. Please implement this same level of safety for our school-attending children and require seat belts to be placed and worn by all passengers on public school buses.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Len Rubenstein