Nicole Moore, principal of Indian Mills Elementary School in Shamong and president-elect of NJPSA, joined Assemblyman Troy Singelton (D-7) at a press conference today in support of Assembly Bill 3798, which would authorize school districts to add cameras to the outside of school buses to identify cars that illegally pass buses. “All school principals share the same number one priority — keeping our children safe, Moore said. “And it is, therefore, imperative that we take every possible measure we can to ensure student safety every day.”
“As I stand outside every afternoon and watch each of my students board their school buses, I trust, hope, and pray that the other drivers in our community understand that a school bus is not a nuisance, and it is not an obstacle to their destination and their busy schedule,” she continued. “It is quite simply a vehicle carrying our children to the two most important places in their lives – their school and their home.”
Singleton explained that the costs to affix these cameras would be paid by the school districts. However, under this bill, the burden of some of the costs would be eased by the $300 to $500 fines that drivers who are cited for illegally passing school buses would pay. In addition to Moore, representatives from the New Jersey Parent-Teacher Association, New Jersey School Boards Association, New Jersey Education Association, Garden State Coalition of Schools, as we all as a Dennis Township school bus driver all voiced their support for this bill.
Below are Nicole Moore’s comments in full:
Thank you for this opportunity to speak in favor of Assembly bill 3798.
I am Nicole Moore, Principal of Indian Mills Elementary School in Burlington County. My school has 400 Pre-K to grade 4 students. I am also here today as President- Elect of the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association which represents over 6,000 school principals and other school leaders across New Jersey. And finally, I am here as a mother of two school-aged children who ride our school buses to get safely to and from school each day.
I would like to thank Assemblymen Singleton, McGuckin, and Wolfe for sponsoring this common sense legislation that will help keep our children safe as they ride the school bus.
All school principals share the same number one priority – keeping our children safe. And it is therefore imperative that we take every possible measure we can to ensure student safety every day. Thankfully, our legislators here today understand this. We need to unite in our support of this bill so that no one can put the lives of our children in danger without consequence.
Cameras on the outside of school buses can actually save lives by providing direct monitoring of driver behavior near our school buses. Inattentive, impatient or aggressive drivers can put our children in harm’s way, particularly as the students exit school buses on today’s busy roads. Many New Jersey roads do not have sidewalks for our students to safely exit onto, so sending the message to drivers that they need to wait until the bus driver signals to them that our students are safe is good public policy. Mounting cameras on the exterior of school buses, along with safety lights and safety arms signals this fact to drivers.
These cameras will also help us identify and hold accountable anyone who illegally passes a school bus. As a mother and a school principal, I will never stop worrying about my kids, but this legislation will allow me to breathe a little easier knowing that we are doing everything we can to protect them.
Too often in our jobs, we are left to trust. As parents, we trust that when we put our children on the bus in the morning that they will arrive safely at school. As educators, we trust that when we put our students on the bus at the end of the day that they will arrive safely at home. But between point A and point B there are obstacles and hazards that we cannot control.
For 15 years I have served as principal of Indian Mills School and my students are my children as well. As I stand outside every afternoon and watch each of my students board their school buses, I trust, hope, and pray that the other drivers in our community understand that a school bus is not a nuisance, and it is not an obstacle to their destination and their busy schedule. It is quite simply a vehicle carrying our children to the two most important places in their lives – their school and their home. Let’s get them there safely. Let’s make sure that we protect New Jersey’s precious cargo – our students – by passing this bill.
As a Mother and as a school principal nothing could be more important.