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LCES honored for school bus safety training

State donates new podium to school

LCES honored for school bus safety training

LCES honored for school bus safety training

Langston Chapel Elementary School Pri...

A showy, school bus-themed podium that toured the state with Georgia first lady Sandra Deal last year found a new home Thursday at Langston Chapel Elementary School.
Officials with the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety presented the lectern as a gift to students, teachers and administrators during a brief morning ceremony at the school, as a “thank you” for Langston Chapel’s efforts to promote school bus safety.
“We travelled all across the state, and this school, and school system, had the greatest demonstration of education and school bus safety that we saw on our tour,” said Harris Blackwood, the director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, who showed off the stand and reminded kids of bus safety during the ceremony. “We wanted to give this podium to a school that emphasized school bus safety. We are so pleased that we could do this today. We hope that somewhere along the way, some generation will look at it and say: ‘Hey. That’s pretty neat.’ This community has a lot to be proud of.”
The custom-built lectern — one of two made — was used by Deal during a “Stop Means Stop” campaign in 2012, to increase safety awareness regarding school buses.
It is designed and modeled to resemble a bus; the stand even features a working stop sign, which extends outward.
Both Gov. Nathan Deal and his wife autographed the lectern.
“It is a really special day for us,” said Langston Chapel Elementary School principal Karen Doty. “Having this podium will continuously remind us, and our school system, just how important it is to remind children about school bus safety.”
Blackwood called the work done by Langston Chapel Elementary to educate kids about bus safety “remarkable.”
“Their programs have put school bus safety in the forefront of parents’ and students’ minds,” he said.
According to Doty, the school, and the Bulloch County Board of Education’s Transportation Department, annually hosts a program titled “Sparky,” to teach and encourage proper bus protocols.
“There is a puppet show; we practice evacuations on the school bus itself; and we talk about how to be safe while traveling on the bus,” she said. “It is a fun way to do a lot of training, and the program encompasses a lot of the situations that a child may experience on a bus, if there ever were a problem.”
“Hopefully it will never happen, but I feel like our kids are ready should a crisis ever occur on a bus,” Doty said.
The new, decorative piece of furniture will be placed in the Langston Chapel Elementary front lobby, where visitors can view it and sign in before entering the school.
Thursday’s presentation was held during what is National and Georgia School Bus Safety Week, which runs through Saturday — also, Georgia’s School Bus Drivers Appreciation Day was Monday.
Blackwood and Governor’s Office of Highway Safety officials made a second visit in Bulloch County Thursday, to Georgia Southern University.
The college hosted a news conference on Sweetheart Circle to highlight Teen Driver Safety Week (also this week), and discuss ongoing efforts to combat teen driver crashes, injuries and fatalities.
Traffic crashes are the No. 1 cause of death for teenagers in Georgia and nationwide, according to release issued by Georgia Southern.
“What the GOHS is doing is: trying to raise awareness and keep people from being involved in traffic accidents. This campaign is designed to let people know that we have to do something to prevent our young people from being killed senselessly,” University President Dr. Brooks Keel said. “We have 20,500 students here at Georgia Southern, and we want to keep every single one of them as safe as we can. The vast majority of them are texting, and that is fine. But not behind the wheel.”

Jeff Harrison may be reached at (912) 489-9454.

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