Friday, May 25, 2018

"The safety of children always comes first." Andres Alonso

Following a horrific crash between a school bus and a truck last week, plus several other crashes that resulted in deaths,  the NTSB has finally announced that seat belts should be used in school busses. I say "It's about time!"  If students are viewed as precious cargo, this should have happened years ago.  I coached Varsity Boys' Golf for 33 years- which meant I spent many hours through those years traveling on a school bus.  If the team was traveling in a van, I required the boys to wear seat belts. But if we had a big bus, seat belts were rarely an option - especially years ago.  More busses were equipped with seat belts near the end of my coaching career, but certainly, not all busses.  The team and I had some really close calls through those years, and I can remember the golf clubs flying off the seats like ptojectiles. If only this recommendation would have happened sooner- so many lives have been lost in school bus accidents.  Here is an article about the NTSB's decision:

Ahead of our time, a colleague and I wrote a post advocating bus seat belts Living Education Magazine, Fall, 2015, which I am sharing here. Although our children are our treasure,  getting companies to spend the money on school bus seat belts to insure their safety has been a challenge.  

Should School Busses Have Seatbelts?
By Dede Rittman and Neil S. Haley

The second week of September, a school bus crash happened in Houston, Texas, and two female students ages 14 and 17 were killed.  Two others were seriously injured and were hospitalized. This week, a school bus in Florida carrying 20 children careened off a road and went into a pond.  Luckily, no serious injuries were reported.

All state laws require passenger cars to have seatbelts, and every state in the U.S. has a law which requires that seat belts be worn.   No newborn baby released from the hospital is permitted to go home in the family car unless the family has provided a properly installed child seat, and laws for child seats are determined by age, weight, and size of the child.1

All of these laws beg the question, why are seat belts NOT required for school busses by ALL states? 

Should all school busses, even the large passenger models, be equipped with seat belts?  Should all children be required to wear seatbelts on school busses?
After much research and discussion, both Neil S. Haley, CEO of The Total Education Network, and Dede Rittman, author of Student Teaching: The Inside Scoop from a Master Teacher, believe the answer to both questions is a resounding YES.

Although school busses are “compartmentalized” for safety, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that school busses are eight times safer than riding in family cars,2  many parents want their children to have that extra measure of safety by wearing a seat belt. Even students become upset at the thought of not wearing a seat belt in the bus, when they have been taught the importance of wearing a seatbelt in the car.

Neil S. Haley is the father of five children, and he states that “Just as schools want to create a safe environment within the school, parents also want the school to continue to make a safety cocoon for their children as the kids are traveling back and forth to school.”

The cost of installing seatbelts into all school busses currently on the road would be prohibitive, but since schools sell and buy new busses periodically, perhaps a partial solution would be to have all new busses be equipped with seatbelts.

Dede Rittman, 37 year teaching veteran and 33 year golf coach, never felt totally safe on school busses when traveling to away golf matches.  “Although a school bus sits higher off the road, I always worried about the team’s safety in case of a crash.  It seemed like they, along with their golf clubs and bags, would be propelled into the air, and that would not be a good scenario for anyone on the bus.”

Just last week, NBC’s Jeff Rossen of the TODAY Show presented a live school bus crash at 30 mph using “student dummies”, and the results are startling , difficult, and disturbing to watch. You can check out the live crash and see just what happens inside the bus at

Right now, only six states require school busses to have seat belts.3  Both Neil and Dede hope that all 50 states will get on board to require children to wear seatbelts, in order to keep our children safe.

Dede Rittman is an award-wining author of STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER, available at  and and Kindle Dede is a 37 year veteran English/ Theater teacher, with 2 years in the Penn Hills School District, and 35 years in the North Allegheny School District, where she also was Varsity Head Boys’ Golf Coach for 33 years, directed the spring musical and talent shows, worked with student council, and contributed to many district initiatives.  Always a positive person, Dede writes a weekly blog for teacher inspiration at  She is a guest blogger for, My Town Tutors, Educator Help, Forest of the Rain Productions, and many others. Dede is the Co-host of The Total Education Q and A Show, which is heard around the world on 120 stations in 80 countries at .  Dede appeared as a regular panelist on Teacher Talk Live at; and Dede has presented webinars for WIZ IQ and The Learning Liaisons. Dede has signed a multi-book contract with Tate Publishing for her new series of children’s books, beginning with GRADY GETS GLASSES, which will be launched in Times Square on December 4, 2015. Dede graduated with a B.S in Secondary English from Edinboro University and attended graduate school at Pitt.

Connect with Dede: ; TWITTER @dederittman; LinkedIn -Dede Faltot Rittman; Google + -Dede Rittman;  Facebook- Dede Faltot Rittman and Rittman Rules; Instagram- dede_rittman, Pinterest -Rittman Publishing; Tumblr -The Bunny Teacher

Neil Haley, CEO of Total Tutor, has been working with children for more than 12 years. His experience includes: Classroom Teacher; After School Program Director;  Behavior Specialist; Educational Advocate; Developmental Therapist, SAT Prep Coach; and Practicum Supervisor. Total Tutor is an international kindergarten through college tutoring and consulting company, providing educational advocacy, behavior therapy, autism consulting, home school consulting, all subject tutoring, and SAT/ACT/GRE tutoring. Neil is also the affable host of The Total Education Network, which is heard and viewed in over 80 countries, syndicated on 120 stations, with over 2.5 million listeners and viewers per week. Neil is also the host of the Total Celebrity Show, interviewing international stars, authors, and athletes on both his radio and TV shows. Neil also works as a social media coach for many famous individuals, and he is also an entrepreneur. In his earlier life, Neil was a professional wrestler. Neil is currently working on his first book and he regularly contributes as a writer to UK Health magazine, Forest of the Rain Productions, My Town Tutors, and other online magazines.
Neil graduated from LaRoche College with a B.S. in History, and obtained his M. Ed. at Duquesne University. He is married to Jennifer and the proud father of five children.
The Total Education Network airs shows 7 days a week on Blogtalkradio CEO, Producer, Host, Coach, Advocate, and Consultant 

Connect with Neil: Facebook Neil S. Haley; Twitter @totaltutor; LinkedIn -Neil S. Haley; Pinterest - Neil Haley, Google + -Neil Haley; Instagram- Neil Haley  412-523-0289;

To view the magazine, go to  

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 

Rittman Publishing, LLC ®

Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school.  if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom.  GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 from The Authors' Zone. For more information about The Authors' Zone, please visit  

Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out! 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at  The website now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. 

Connect with Dede!

Twitter       @dederittman
Periscope   @dederittman
Facebook   Dede Faltot Rittman or Rittman Rules
LinkedIn   Dede Rittman
Google +   Dede Rittman
Tumblr      The Bunny Teacher
Instagram   dede_rittman  and Gradygetsglasses 
Pinterest   Rittman Publishing, LLC ® 

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