Columbia Public Schools participate in School Bus Safety Week

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COLUMBIA - About 200 buses depart each day from the First Student bus lot to take around 8,000 students to and from school.

This week Columbia Public School's will participate in National School Bus Safety Week. This year's theme for the week is "At My Stop...You Stop." Community Relations Director Michelle Baumstark said CPS will do some special things to celebrate the safety week.

"We will be continuing to do a lot of things revolving around school bus safety as well as recognizing the efforts of our transportation crew and bus drivers," Baumstark said.

Between 2003 and 2012, there were 1,353 people killed in school-transportation related crashes. That is an average of 135 fatalities per year. A school-transportation related crash involves a school bus or any type of vehicle functioning as a school bus that transports children to or from school or school-related activities.

Baumstark said she thinks this week is important to raise safety awareness for everyone.

"It's just important for us to raise some awareness about the importance of safety not only for our students who are riding those busses, but also for cars and walkers in the community who see those buses traveling," Baumstark said.

Before this week, CPS has already conducted school bus evacuation safety drills. Baumstark said these drills will continue on until the end of this month.

"Our transportation employee's have been working directly with our school buses and students that are riding the buses to talk to them about important safety procedures, teach them about evacuation methods, make sure they know where the exits are, and what they need to do should certain situations happen," Baumstark said.

Along with the safety drills, Baumstark said CPS will hold special events this week, like a special breakfast, to thank their drivers.