LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - The Long Beach School District is trying to put the brakes on drivers who are putting children's lives in danger. The district's transportation director says too many drivers are illegally passing stopped school buses. So the district is taking action, even filing charges against the alleged violators.
Long Beach buses transport about 1,800 students to and from school every day. Since classes started more than a month ago, bus drivers have encountered cars going around stopped school buses.
"I'm very concerned. As the director of transportation, as a parent myself, the last thing I would want to see is one of our students to be injured on the roads involved in a school bus loading," said Long Beach Schools Transportation Director Russ Badeaux.
Another Long Beach parent, and teacher, Ashley Ragon is also worried.
"I have a child on the bus and he is eight years old and he rides the bus home. Our street is very busy, and so if he is getting off the bus and someone's not paying attention, it's a concern," said Ragon.
Ragon said she has witnessed several close calls when drivers ignore the flashing yellow lights, extended bar, and stop signs on the buses.
"I mean, they're going to hit a child and it's scary, and people are not paying attention as they should," said Ragon.
So bus drivers are being more vigilant by writing down the tags of vehicles that fail to stop when school buses are dropping off or picking up children.
"We actually have two pending cases where we pressed charges. We're not out to try to catch people breaking the law. But when it comes to breaking the law that endangers the children of this community, it's very serious and we take it seriously," said Badeaux.
The district will also meet with all the teachers to ask them to help spread the safety message.
"The law's there for a reason. It's there to protect whether we like them or not or whatever. It's the safety of our children that makes the difference," said Ragon.
Badeaux urged drivers to understand Nathan's Law in Mississippi, which created harsher punishments for people who ignore the bus signals. Those who break the law could face stiff penalties, from fines to possible jail time.