Columbia County School Board member Roxanne Whitaker has the right idea for improving travel to school sports: I wish we could wink, and thered be a bus, Whitaker recently told fellow trustees.
Of course, no solution is so simple - and its good news that school system officials are setting aside wishful thinking in studying the safest ways to get student athletes to competitions and practices.
Its even better news, though, that school officials are taking the advice of such people as Dan Hall. Rather than approve a plan that would have left gaping holes in travel safety, trustees are listening to suggestions and taking the plan back to the drawing board.
Halls willingness to speak out on the issue is admirable. Just four months ago, his son Daniel was one of two members of the Greenbrier High School golf team killed in a car crash on the way to a tournament. The father has turned his grief into action, pushing school officials to make athletic travel safety a priority.
Hall was instrumental in getting the school system to consider a new policy. He then voiced concern when that policy failed to provide more buses for athletic travel, and excluded travel to practices.
School officials listened, and as a result are now considering spending roughly $500,000 for more buses for athletic travel. Theyre badly needed, and the jump in student population made the problem unexpectedly worse. Until this year, each high school kept an activity bus; but when enrollment jumped, the transportation had to put the vehicles into service on regular bus routes.
Halls plea to the school system is to not just replace those vehicles, but provide enough buses so that all teams are able to travel to sporting events in the safest vehicles possible. The new policy prohibits students from driving other students to games; Hall also wants that policy extended to practice, and school officials to their credit are studying such additions.
These changes wont come with just a wink. But the school system has plenty of funds in reserve, so coming up with the money to buy as many new buses as are needed will be nearly as easy.
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