Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa

Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

May 31, 2018 Mid-Prairie all-school bus safety day
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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While all Iowa school districts are required to conduct bus safety exercises twice a year, Mid-Prairie Transportation Director Teresa Hartley decided to take things a step further this spring.

On Wednesday, May 23, the district conducted the state’s first ever district-wide bus evacuation day for all students.

“Today was the first all-district bus evacuation,” Hartley said. “We took everybody in the district and made sure they got on a bus and went through every one of the exits on our buses.”

Bus drivers, Department of Education employees and members of the Iowa State Patrol conducted exercises at each of the district’s four schools Wednesday morning.

“Today, we had four Department of Education employees who were here to assist and five Iowa State Patrol,” Department of Education school bus inspector Joe Funk said. “Today was wonderful. We worked on this for quite a few months. Things went very smoothly, and the time frames were excellent.”

Hartley said that the focus was on giving all students a hands-on lesson on how to use all of the exits inside the bus, including rear exits, windows and roof hatches.

“We also talked to them about staying as calm as possible, which is not easy when you are young and in a bus accident,” she said.

For Hartley, bus safety is a personal issue.

“When I was young, I was in a bus accident myself,” she said. “It’s very traumatizing. We’re just trying to prepare the kids in case that would happen and make sure they know what they’re supposed to do.

“I spoke to a group of middle-schoolers, and they never thought bus accidents ever happen. When I told them I was in one myself, it hit home with them.”

Both Hartley and Funk said that hands-on exercises like this will likely catch on at other school districts.

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