Allen County’s four public school districts, with the support of Parkview Health Trauma Services, launched a public service campaign reminding drivers to stop for school buses. East Allen County Schools, Fort Wayne Community Schools, Northwest Allen County Schools and Southwest Allen County Schools, along with local law enforcement agencies, are asking drivers to Slow. Stop. Stay. as students return to school for a new school year.
“We are proud to participate in the Slow. Stop. Stay. Campaign. Hopefully, the campaign will serve as a reminder that as we soon begin a new school year, we all benefit from remembering that our youngest students are still learning how to navigate on their own so it’s critical that we slow down near school zones and stop for buses,” said Dr. Chris Himsel, NACS Superintendent. “Traffic patterns will change next week – school zones and buses will be active so we must be patient.”
Each day in Allen County, nearly 200 school bus stop-arm violations occur. This has been a critical issue in Allen County for many years, and the issue was elevated state-wide last year when three children were killed in Rochester while attempting to cross a road to board their school bus.
“There is nothing so important that drivers can’t take a moment to stop for children trying to get to school,” FWCS Superintendent Dr. Wendy Robinson said. “Every time a driver fails to stop for a stopped school bus, they are putting children’s lives at risk.”
In March, the Fort Wayne Police Department and Allen County Sheriff’s Department conducted a targeted enforcement campaign, issuing more than 60 citations for stop arm violations in three weeks. The agencies have committed to continued enforcement, using data from local schools to identify high violation areas.
“The surrounding Allen County School Districts are partnering together to help keep students, drivers and the community aware of the need to increase safety for our children. East Allen County Schools is excited to be a part of the Slow. Stop. Stay. Campaign,” EACS Superintendent Marilyn Hissong said.
The Slow. Stop. Stay. Campaign reminds drivers to Slow Down when yellow lights are flashing; Stop when red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended; and Stay Put until the lights stop flashing and children are out of the way.
“As thousands of local children return to school next week, this unique bus safety campaign is designed to educate and remind Indiana drivers to do their part,” SACS Superintendent Dr. Philip Downs said. “If you see a bus with its lights flashing, Slow. Stop. Stay! Not only is it the right thing to do, it is the law; the lives of our kids depend on it.”
The campaign kicks off with a public service announcement available for local television stations to run immediately. The campaign will also include printed material, yard signs, billboards and social media campaigns throughout the year. Visit www.slowstopstay.org to learn more.