COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Schools have added a new position and it seems to be the first of its kind in Missouri. Tina DeClue is the new elementary school bus safety instructor.
This position reiterates the information children learn about bus safety in their classrooms. DeClue just helped complete a huge program that was started when she was first hired.
"We took buses to our elementary schools and they got on the bus. We did a small training program with them, in which also included an emergency evacuation out the rear door and then we also taught them how to appropriately cross the street should they be getting off at a stop where they need to cross the street," said DeClue.
Now she is working with individual bus drivers, students and teachers by offering safety recommendations. She even rides the bus with the kids to reiterate the importance of bus safety.
This way, they have practice and a face to go to if they need help. "Repetition is the key and consistency. I think if they consistently see myself, the driver, the principal, we're all on the same team. We're all partnering together for a positive change in behavior," said DeClue.
Over the past ten years in the U.S., an average of 29 children were struck getting on and off the bus. It's important to stand at least 10 feet away from the bus so the bus driver can see the passengers.
Columbia Public School's Transportation Coordinator David Wilson recognized the need for this program. Wilson said since Columbia Public Schools doesn't own its own bus program, there is a natural void between it and First Student. He doesn't think this is a negative but adding DeClue will help fill the separation gap.
"She had previous experience working with children in schools and in the community. So far, she is doing a great job. And we are very happy and fortunate to have her," said Wilson.