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Published: Tuesday, 9/10/2013

Sylvania Schools students go through bus safety training

BY NATALIE TRUSSO CAFARELLO
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Sylvan Elementary students practice the bunny ear signal as part of school bus safety training. Sylvan Elementary students practice the bunny ear signal as part of school bus safety training.
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As part of a state mandated safety program, Sylvania’s elementary students received a refresher course on bus safety and emergency procedures.

In the back of a yellow school bus, a group of Sylvan Elementary students held up two fingers, mimicking bunny ears, on Tuesday.

“Hold up your bunny ears. What does that mean?” asked Gloria Nixon, a school bus driver who is also an on-board instructor.

It means “quiet,” a rule of thumb when a bus is about to cross over railroad tracks, she said. The signal is one of the hand signals the bus driver may use to communicate with the children. Later, they went through the steps of a proper evacuation drill, with teachers on hand to catch them as they jumped out the back of the bus.

Debbie Nisch, a Sylvania bus driver, reviews school bus safety procedures with a second grade class at Sylvan. Debbie Nisch, a Sylvania bus driver, reviews school bus safety procedures with a second grade class at Sylvan.
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Throughout the next couple of weeks, all 3,000 of the district's elementary students will go through such an emergency evacuation training session. Those in grades kindergarten through third also will have an in class instructional training before heading to the bus for the evacuation simulation.

Before the second graders boarded the bus, they reviewed procedures to keep them safe when entering or exiting a bus.

Debbie Nisch, a Sylvania bus driver who also doubles as an instructor, asked the students of teacher Ashley Collins’ class about their safety spot.

“A safety spot is a driver designated point of safety, on the residence side of the road where students bus drop areas are located,” said John Dell, director of transportation.

When exiting a bus, the student is supposed to stand in the spot until the bus driver pulls away, he said.

A couple students asked Mrs. Nisch about seat belts and why they were not required on a bus.

She said that, if everyone was buckled in, it would be difficult for a bus driver to go one by one and release them in an emergency. Also, she said, the padding on the bus seat is thick enough to absorb shock.

Mrs. Nisch reminded students they would provide the example for younger students. So, they should follow rules, such as staying seated, in order to be leaders for those in kindergarten, she said.

Ms. Nixon stressed the importance of exiting the bus in orderly fashion and as quickly as possible during an emergency, saying that "everything should be left behind."

“Stuff is not important. You are important. Stuff can be replaced. You can’t,” she said.

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356 or ntrusso@theblade.com



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