School bus camp teaches safety, brings parents peace of mind

School bus camp teaches safety, brings parents peace of mind
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Safety around bus stops takes on added meaning after the death of 8-year-old Destiny Chambers last year, a Joplin girl killed after being struck by a truck driver.

Now, bus drivers in Joplin are doing their part to keep kids safe with the district’s first School Bus Camp.

“Should you have stuff out in the aisle or should you be out in the aisle? NO!”

Riding the bus can be scary for kids and for parents.

“This year is my youngest daughter’s first time going to Kindergarten, so I know she’s going to be pretty distracted with her sisters on the bus. So, I wanted to make sure they were doing well,” explained Lauren Boydston, mother of four.

While some upcoming Kindergarteners are excited: “I like the head start bus,” said 5-year-old Peyton Clark.

Others are apprehensive, and that’s why the School Bus Camp is here to make sure everyone is ready for the first day of school.

“Buses can be a dangerous place to be around. We want them to be happy. We want them to feel safe and comfortable around school buses,” said Curtis Baker, a Joplin school bus driver.

To do that, kids are getting tips from the experts, learning what to do…“Always sit down, that’s excellent!” and what not to do.

“Stay at least 10 feet away from where the bus will be pulling up. Wait till the bus is completely stopped and the door opens before they approach the bus. We have kids that, you know, want to come running to the bus just as soon as they see it start to stop and that is very dangerous,” explained Baker.

The biggest part of Bus Camp is the bus ride where parents and kids get to apply what they’ve learned.

“I think it’s great. I think it’ll help a lot of them,” said Peggy Clark, a Joplin mother.

“They’re pretty excited now, especially my Kindergartner, really wanting to go meet all of her new friends and see all of these bus drivers,” said Boydston.

More than 30 volunteers helped make the Bus Camp possible, playing games with kids to remind students that the bus can be fun if they put safety first.

The district plans to make this an annual event.