Editor:

As Illinois children return to school, I want to remind drivers to be alert regarding children traveling by school buses to and from school.

Sadly, 17 kids across the nation were killed by motorists who failed to stop for school buses loading or unloading passengers during the 2018 school year. However, our state experienced a fatality-free school year.

My office remains committed to educating the public about school bus safety. As part of our Toby Tire School Bus Safety program, we emphasize to students the dangers of crossing the street. We are a national leader in school bus safety.

School bus safety has been a priority of school administrators, teachers and parents, as well as my office, during the 21 years I have served as Secretary of State.

School bus safety is a responsibility to be shared by everyone in the community — not just parents and school officials. We all play a role in the safety of our communities’ children.

I encourage those with school-age children to take time to remind them of the fundamentals of student transportation safety:

• Always look both ways while crossing the street, even in bus loading zones.

• Always stay clear of the 10-foot “danger zone” that surrounds the bus.

• Maintain proper behavior on the bus by speaking in normal tones and always stay seated.

• Stay away from strangers.

We must remain vigilant in our efforts to protect our children and ensure they get to and from school in a safe and responsible manner. Our children are our future.

Jesse White

Illinois Secretary of State

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