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West Chester Area School District Participates in Operation Safe Stop

students and police in front of school bus

West Chester, PA - The West Chester Area School District carries the massive responsibility of providing transportation to over 17,000 school students per year, including private schools and special education services. The district teamed up with local police departments on Wednesday, October 18, for PennDOT's Operation Safe Stop to remind motorists that it is illegal to pass a school bus when the red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended.

In its 28th year, Operation Safe Stop is conducted in communities across the state in conjunction with National School Bus Safety Week. Locally, officers from West Goshen Township, West Whiteland Township, and Westtown-East Goshen Township rode along with students and drove behind buses keeping an eye out for violators.

“It happens quite often,” said Officer Frey, of the Westtown-East Goshen Police Department. “We receive complaints about vehicles that violate red lights on school buses. Some drivers are distracted because they’re doing other things that are taking them away from their important task of driving a vehicle.”

West Chester Area School District Transportation Manager Michele Porco said keeping students safe is a collaborative effort on the part of bus drivers, police officers, parents, and other motorists. “Quite often, our Krapf and On the Go Kids bus drivers are the ones that report violators to the police. If they can safely do it, they will write down the license plate number and report the driver. They can't always do it though, because they're trained to watch the kids as they get on and off the bus. Student safety is their number one priority. Parents can watch for violators, too.”

Police officer and students wait for bus

West Goshen Police Officer and WCASD School Resource Officer Spigarelli, and Krapf Safety Officer Tom Carver rode with students on their way to Glen Acres Elementary School while Officer Pot from West Whiteland Police Department traveled with students to Exton Elementary School. The officers used their time with students to go over safety tips while riding the bus.

Officer Frey and Erin Grandizio from the Chester County Highway Safety departments joined students on their ride to Penn Wood Elementary School. Once they arrived, Frey and Grandizio handed out safety information to remind students to stay safe and alert.

No violations were reported on any of the bus routes that police monitored on Wednesday. If convicted of breaking Pennsylvania's Bus Stopping law, a motorist faces a $250 fine, five points on their driving record, and a 60-day suspension of their license.