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Remind children of bus rules

Tragic is the only word to describe the bus accident that killed an 8-year-old girl in Florala on Thursday.

Witnesses said the safety arm on the bus was being retracted when little Lexi Worrell stepped in front of the bus. She was out of the bus driver’s line of sight, and died instantly when she was struck.

The lives of the Lexi’s family, the bus driver, and the children who witnessed the accident will be forever changed. Our thoughts and prayers are with each of them as they deal with the emotions of this terrible accident.

Those who knew little Lexi describe her as a fiercely independent child who refused to give into the challenges of infantile scoliosis and hip dysplasia. Her legacy is a determined attitude and a sunny disposition many would do well to copy.

But her death also underscores the need for all who love children to impress upon them the need to behave well while riding the bus, so as not to distract the bus driver, and the precautions to take when boarding and exiting the bus.

Bob Harry, who heads transportation for the Andalusia City Schools system, said Friday that no one is more important in the education process than a bus driver.

“They have a huge responsibility every day,” he said.

And frequently, he said, he is forced to but students who refuse to comply with bus drivers’ rules on a bus restriction of sorts. Often, parents blame bus drivers.

“That driver can’t be distracted, even for a moment,” Harry said. “He or she is responsible for the safety of about 65 children.”

If your children are bus passengers, remind them why good behavior is so important on the bus that they should remain seated and facing forward, and should talk quietly.

When exiting the bus, children should immediately step away from it. If they drop something, they should let the driver know before going back or scooting under the bus to pick something up. The danger that the driver might not seem them is far greater than the cost of anything that might be dropped underneath the bus.

And finally, remember to thank the bus driver who delivers your children safely to you each afternoon.

Nothing we can do will bring Lexi back, but the efforts might save another family, another driver, another witness from the tragedy experienced in Florala this week.