RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The roads will be full of school buses next week. Monday is the start of traditional school in several local districts, and that means all drivers need to be on alert.
This year in Wake County, people may see buses on the roads at times you wouldn’t expect them. While many elementary schools finish their day at 3:45 p.m., because of the bus driver shortage, some students won’t even leave their school buildings until nearly 5:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, some high school students will be picked up for school as early as 5 a.m. Once the time changes, students could be leaving for school and arrive home in darkness.
In the spring, two close calls were caught on video. Students in Statesville were nearly hit last March as they crossed the street to board their bus. Then in May, a video went viral showing an officer passing a stopped school bus in Concord.
It wasn’t just a close call for the Franklin family from Guilford County, though. Jaxson, 6, was hit by a car in March while trying to get on his school bus.
“His little body flew through the air about 40 feet and landed about 20 feet behind the school bus,” said his mother, Sarah Franklin. “Our whole world came to a stop right there.”
Jaxson suffered a traumatic brain injury. “For almost a week, we watched Jaxson laying in bed unresponsive,” his mother recalled, tearfully. “We have no way of predicting how this will impact the rest of his life.”
Sarah and Ryan Franklin shared their son’s story as state leaders urged drivers, parents and students to pay extra attention, as buses get back on the roads.
“This was a completely preventable event,” noted Franklin. “As kids go back to school, please just be mindful and patient about kids getting on the bus.”
With buses on the road from before dawn until after dusk in some counties, officials said it’s especially important to be alert, follow the laws, put down the phones and avoid distractions.
“Please do not speed,” implored Franklin. “Please pay attention to the roads and the buses, and know having to spend two minutes to wait for those babies to get on that bus will not impact your commute time that much.”