A group of students from the Buffalo City School District (BCSD) recently put together a public service announcement encouraging fellow students who ride the school bus to “Buckle Up!” with three-point, lap-shoulder seat belts.
Fifth-grade performers and a high school production team from the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts produced the video together over a period of about three weeks, said Jam Vafai, a teacher at the school and faculty advisor on the project.
New York state law mandates that school buses manufactured after 1987 have two-point lap seat belts; however, the school district decided to go beyond that by adding shoulder-lap seatbelts to their buses beginning in 2010, through their relationship with contractor First Student.
According to Al Diamico, director of transportation for the district, the decision was influenced by a desire to increase the safety of the students who ride the bus.
“Obviously in our industry we want to keep our kids safe, and we thought that’s the next step to keep them even safer. This business is always about improving,” he told STN.
Diamico added that the video has been shown at two schools in the district so far as part of a safety assembly, and that the response from the students has been positive.
“Our feedback so far, in the sites where we did show it, has been that the kids love it,” he said.
He admitted that due to the successful response, the district is now considering giving other students the opportunity to create their own public service announcements as an incentive for consistently wearing seat belts on the bus.
The video is not only generating positive reactions, but also and perhaps more importantly, positive results.
“We have been tracking the two schools to see if there are any changes after the assemblies and watching the video. We did a study about the number of conduct reports (on the bus), and they are down 15 percent in those two sites,” Diamico said.
To find out more about the video and how it came to be, check out the August issue of School Transportation News magazine.