School Officials Stress Safety After Student Hit By Car

A school bus rear ends a car outside Southside Elementary last week, forcing the vehicle to strike a child who was walking home from school.

Now, Grady County officials say they're doing their best to ensure student safety in the future.

"School is winding down kids are excited people are excited, but our focus is still on safety on that bus when we get on that bus we have to think safety and we cannot let our minds wonder," said Grady County School Superintendent Dr. Tommy Pharis.

First responders and school officials met Tuesday morning to discuss how the situation was handled and how school related accidents can be prevented in the future.

"Transporting students on a school bus is a team effort. It's not just the bus driver, the bus drivers the first line of defense and safety in controlling the behavior of the kids on the bus," said Jerry Cox, Grady County School's Director of Operations.

The school bus driver was charged during the incident, and is currently on unpaid leave until the end of next week. Cox says the driver will then have to pass a number of written and hands on testing before being considered to drive on his own again.

School officials say this kind of precautionary measures are standard when an accident occurs.

"We had a meeting the other day with drivers to refocus them. The principals too, every time we have an incident of this sort we remind the principals. We know your kids are excited about getting out, I know your teachers are exciting about getting out, but lets get out safely," Cox said.

"If we don't continually refocus on what we're supposed to be doing we have a tendency as human beings to maybe become a little lax," said Dr. Pharis.

Teachers are also taking extra precautions, like walking students across the street until they're safely off campus.

"We decided that in all of our classes for the next three weeks we would talk to children about bus safety, pedestrian safety and car safety," said Cheryl Harrison, principal at Southside Elementary School.

Officials are also urging drivers to do their part by being extra careful when traveling near schools.

"It can take only just a few seconds for a child to be injured," said Cheryl Harrison.

"I just couldn't imagine harming a child and having to live with that for the rest of my life," said Jerry Cox.

School officials say being aware of school safety all year long is the key to keeping students safe.

The student involved in the crash was taken to the hospital but was not severely injured. She did not attend classes the rest of last week, but was back at school on Monday.