Candidates sound off on student bus safety

February 04, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WASHINGTON COUNTY - After a Washington County Public Schools kindergartner boarded the wrong school bus late last year and was dropped off about two miles from his home, school system officials said procedures are constantly being reviewed to ensure student safety on school buses.

The 5-year-old Funkstown School for Early Childhood Education got on the wrong school bus in October 2007 after a miscommunication between staff members at his school, schools spokesman Will Kauffman said at the time.

More recently, a Paramount Elementary School student missed his bus stop after falling asleep on the bus ride home. The driver discovered the student was there when the driver was on his way to Smithsburg High School to pick up children for another route.

The Herald-Mail asked the nine candidates vying for a seat on the Washington County Board of Education what measures they would take to ensure that children make it home safely on Washington County Public Schools' school buses.


Their answers are on page A3 of today's newspaper.

This question is the fourth and final in a series of questions candidates have answered.

Most candidates said safety is the top priority when transporting students. Some pointed to the schools' willingness to accommodate various transportation needs as one reason problems could occur.

Students are allowed to ride a bus in the afternoon that is not their normal bus if a note is provided. Riding different buses and getting off at different stops on different days can lead to confusion and potential problems, some candidates said.

One solution might be to only allow students to ride one bus, being taken from their home to school and back home again, some candidates said.

The field of nine candidates running in the Feb. 12 primary election for the Washington County Board of Education includes two incumbents and three former board members. The candidates are competing for four open seats on the board. Eight will move on to the general election Nov. 4.

The candidates are Donna Brightman, Jacqueline B. Fischer, W. Edward Forrest, Meredith Fouche, Justin M. Hartings, Tom Janus, Margaret Lowery, Wayne D. Ridenour and Russell F. Williams II.

For more information

To learn more about the candidates for the Washington County Board of Education, go to and click on the 2008 Election Coverage box.

At that site, you'll find a video of each candidate explaining why voters should vote for him or her, profiles of each and more.

Dates to remember

· Primary election date: Feb. 12

· General election date: Nov. 4

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