The Columbia County school system is considering the purchase of eight to 10 school buses to transport pupils to school-sponsored events.
"We want you to seriously look at fixing the situation with school teams, so we will not have teenage drivers driving other students to school events," Dan Hall told the board Tuesday night.
Hall's son, Daniel, was one of two teens killed last spring while driving to a golf tournament in Lincoln County.
At its most recent meeting, the board tentatively approved a policy that would:
* Provide system transportation whenever possible
* Prohibit teens from transporting others except a sibling
* Require parents to give permission when privately owned vehicles are used
* Require the group to travel in a caravan when private vehicles are used for out-of-county travel
The policy only covers games, not practices, which also are considered school-sanctioned. The board did not give its final approval to the original policy Tuesday night but is considering modifying the policy to address practices.
"Practice is a burning issue, particularly at events where we don't have facilities at school sites, and students are expected to drive a lengthy distance," School Superintendent Tommy Price said.
Price said transportation to and from practices likely would be at the "discretion of parents, unless specifically directed by the school."
The Greenbrier football team boards the bus for the game against Evans.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"We want to incorporate practices as much as possible, particularly when it's off site," Price said.
The school system also is considering a $500,000 purchase of eight to 10 buses to provide more system transportation. Finding drivers, Price said, would be the greatest challenge. On some days last spring, Price said there were up to 22 events occurring at the same time, though a typical day would have between eight and 11.
"Last year was a real eye-opener as to what can happen," said school board member Roxanne Whitaker. "I know we are trying everything we can to get these kids out of cars and into buses. I wish we could wink, and there'd be a bus."
Price has been working with principals to discover all school-sanctioned activities where the policy would apply. In addition to soccer, tennis, golf and rowing, health-occupation classes also might be affected, since groups of students are leaving campus during the day to travel to health care facilities and back.
"When we looked at health occupations, we learned there are now multiple passengers in cars," Price said. "We want to identify all areas."
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