It’s a simple message: “Red Flashing, No Passing.”
Virginia Beach City Public Schools’ (VBCPS) bus drivers are joining their counterparts across the Commonwealth and throughout the country by inscribing that message on black ribbons and placing them on their bus grills. The goal: to bring attention to incidents of children being hurt by motorists passing school buses that are loading or unloading children.
“If you see a school bus stopped, please stop,” said school bus driver Tammy DeLoach. “If you see red lights, it means that children are around and we don’t want anyone to get hurt.”
DeLoach spearheaded the effort together with other drivers after seeing campaigns in other cities. When she approached VBCPS for permission, the division’s Office of Transportation and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) fully supported the idea.
“Bus drivers are amongst the most caring, dedicated professionals that you will ever meet,” said Executive Director of VBCPS Transportation David Pace. “This is a national problem and they are genuinely concerned about children’s safety. This is a great opportunity for them to make a point that motorists need to be careful around a school bus. These are our kids.”
DeLoach said that thus far they have distributed 200-300 ribbons, which they were originally inscribing by hand. Now, however, they have the assistance of a bus driver’s daughter who is adding the messaging onto the ribbons with vinyl lettering.
“The ribbons cost $3 but the drivers are contributing extra, and we are donating it toward our school bus scholarship fund,” DeLoach added. She said that the extra money will be donated to the bus drivers association’s scholarship fund which every year awards scholarships to graduating seniors.
“This is about kids,” Pace said. “If you drive a yellow bus, you know this is a problem. When the bus stops and those red lights are flashing, please stop for the children. When the stop arm goes in and the red lights go off, then they can pass.”