School Buses May Soon Come with Seat Belts

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iStock

The days of school bus passengers riding unencumbered by seat belts may soon be over. This week, the federal National Transportation Safety Board made a recommendation to state agencies that new, larger buses should come equipped with lap and shoulder belts, as well as automatic emergency braking and anti-collision systems.

Traditionally, most large school buses have allowed students to ride without being secured in their seats. That’s because the buses are designed to surround passengers with shock-absorbing, high-backed seats spaced closely together, an approach referred to as "compartmentalization." In an accident, kids would be insulated in an egg-carton type of environment and prevented from hitting a dashboard or window. For smaller buses—usually defined as weighing 10,000 pounds or less—belts are standard.

The Safety Board’s conclusion comes at a time when recent bus crashes—including one with two fatalities that took place in New Jersey just last week—have reopened discussion as to whether larger buses need belts. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration maintains that the compartmentalization of larger buses provides adequate safety, while the American Academy of Pediatrics argues that belts should be mandatory on all buses in the event of high-speed collisions or rollovers, where the high-back seats would offer less protection.

For now, the National Transportation Safety Board’s suggestion is just that—a suggestion. No states are required to follow the advice, and there’s considerable expense involved in retrofitting older buses with belts. Currently, eight states require seat belts on large buses.

[h/t ABC News]

100 Homeless New York City High School Graduates Are Bound for College

iStock/Milkos
iStock/Milkos

Youth homelessness in New York City public schools is at an all-time high. In October, The New York Times reported that one out of every 10 students in the city's public school system were without permanent homes. As the school year wraps up, a hopeful story has come out of that sobering statistic. More than 100 New York City teens without homes have graduated high school and are on their way to college.

The exceptional group from the graduating senior class of 2019 were honored by the Department of Homeless Services at a ceremony on June 27, ABC 7 reports. Alexus Lawrence, a student who spoke at the ceremony, is the valedictorian of her high school and the recipient of a $2000 scholarship for academic excellence. She's now set to attend in Brooklyn College to study to become a pediatrician. Ronaldino Crosdale spoke as well; he's headed to Baruch College in the fall.

"I didn't believe in miracles until I got here," he said in his speech. You can see more clips from the ceremony in the video below.

Each of the college-bound students received a duffel bag of school supplies, including laptops. Rising rent costs have contributed to the growing number of homeless students in New York City, which outnumbered the total population of state capital Albany, as of last fall. The instability of temporary housing can lead to chronic absenteeism and poor grades among students. But despite their circumstances, every year there are homeless students who beat the odds. Earlier this year, Brianna Watts, a Bronx high school senior living in a homeless shelter, was accepted to 12 colleges.

[h/t ABC 7]

Las Vegas Is Letting Drivers Pay Their Parking Tickets With Donated School Supplies

iStock/Ekaterina Senyutina
iStock/Ekaterina Senyutina

Summer has just begun, but officials in Las Vegas, Nevada, have already implemented a plan to get free school supplies to kids by September. As CNN reports, the city has agreed to waive parking fines for people who donate back-to-school goods like pencils and paper.

According to a news release from the city of Las Vegas, the new parking ticket payment program will run for a limited time. From now through July 19, Las Vegas residents with non-public safety parking violations can bring new school supplies to the Parking Services Offices within 30 days of the citation date to have their fines forgiven. The donated items must be unwrapped and come with a receipt of greater or equal value to the fine being covered. In addition to conventional school supplies like writing implements, index cards, rulers, scissors, and erasers, cleaning supplies like paper towels and disinfecting wipes will also be accepted.

All goods collected through the program will be donated to the Teacher Exchange, a nonprofit associated with the Public Education Foundation. Every school year, the organization collects surplus books, office supplies, and other materials that would otherwise get thrown out and distributes them to public school classrooms in southern Nevada.

Las Vegas's new school supplies initiative is predated by experimental programs in other cities that allow residents to make donations to pay parking tickets. For five years in a row during the holiday season, Lexington, Kentucky, has accepted canned goods as payment for parking fines to help replenish the local God’s Pantry Food Bank.

[h/t CNN]

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