Editorial: Outgrowing bus drills

Every year, students at Schreiber are required to attend bus drills during regular class periods to learn about staying safe on school buses.  The drills are almost exactly the same every year: the bus driver talks about what to do in case of an emergency, tells students that they cannot eat or drink on the bus, and to conclude, the students practice exiting the bus through the back door.  Most students in the Port Washington school district have had these same drills since they started elementary school. 

Bus drills serve no purpose for high school students because by that time, they likely already know how to ride a bus safely, especially after hearing the same rules since kindergarten.  Additionally, many students at Schreiber do not take the bus to or from school, so there is no reason for them to have to sit through a lecture that does not apply to them.  Students also become loud and distracting during these conversations because many of them feel no need to listen to the bus driver, making it difficult for those students who do ride the bus to fully absorb the information being presented to them.  

Additionally, most high school students are capable of behaving for 15 minutes on their ride to school in the morning.  It is unnecessary to spend so much time on rules that are mostly common sense to teenagers, especially if many of them have no intentions of taking the bus any time soon.  Instead of having bus drills, students who ride the bus should be encouraged by drivers, in addition to school teachers and administrators, to follow the rules.

Bus drills often take up the majority of the period and take away from a day of learning in whatever class students have to miss.  Even if the drills are not a full hour, they are typically in the middle of the period, so by the time a teacher gets his/her class focused, these students will have to leave for the bus drill, and the class often has a difficult time refocusing afterwards.  Without bus drills, teachers would not have to face this interruption to their hectic class schedule, as students are often already distracted.  

For these reasons, The Schreiber Times believes that these bus drills are not necessary at the high school level.  Students in Port have already heard the rules concerning bus safety for years by the time they arrive at Schreiber, and many high schoolers do not take the bus to or from school.  Additionally, students lose time in their normal classes to hear information about bus safety, making it difficult for teachers to keep their class engaged for the rest of the period on the days of bus drills.  If bus drivers, teachers, and administrators instead make efforts to somehow make it clear to students who ride the bus that following the rules benefits themselves more than anyone else, they will be more inclined to listen than if they sat on a bus for half an hour while listening to the same lecture they have been hearing for years.