MUSKEGON – Among all of the students in the Reeths-Puffer School District 1,700 of them ride the bus, and 300 of them walk to school each day.
The district itself is about 77 square miles, and is made up of eight schools. Located inside the district is Dr. Karissa Tryska’s medical practice.
“Dr. Karissa Tryska, she is a member of our community, she stopped in. A lot of people have concerns, but not everyone has a potential solution, and then helps fund that potential solution, said Superintendent Steve Edwards.
“So Dr. Tryska walks in, and she says, ‘Every time I walk into my practice it scares the tar out of me when I’m walking by kids I know are there, and I can’t see them.”
Tryska was worried about the visibility and safety of the kids who either have to walk to bus stops or to school. Her solution was to buy 250 blinking green lights that the kids could wear while walking outside during the early morning hours when they are the least visible.
Edwards said he appreciated her input and solution to the problem. The school went about getting local sponsorships to buy an additional 2,000 lights for the students.
“We have enough sponsors to get through next year as well, and with the enthusiasm with people around this. It is one of those things are tangible, and people want to be helpful,” said Edwards.
Students from Jill Mason’s second grade class assembled and packaged the lights. Mason is a teacher at Central Elementary School. The lights were then given to the bus drivers at the school.
On Tuesday, Nov. 12, the bus drivers distributed the lights to the students on their routes.
The school district has asked that the lights be clipped on the top strap of a book bag. Edwards said this will make the students more visible to drivers from both the front and the back.
He also said he has been testing out the battery life of the lights, and believes the lights are good for about 100 hours of use. However, he said should a student’s light cease to work the district will replace it.