DESOTO COUNTY, MS (abc24.com) - Ten feet. That's the magic number Mississippi kindergartners, first and second graders are learning.
It has to do with bus safety, and how far away from the bus they need to stay. Before this week is over, every one of DeSoto County's youngest students will have heard those words.
"Safety is the most important," says kindergartner Keagan Marie Herring. "I know you need to stay 10 feet away from the bus. When you drop something down you leave it until a big person comes."
Five to seven year olds are the most vulnerable when it comes to bus accidents. DeSoto kids are being taught the safest way to get on and off their school bus.
Herring's a student in one of the classes mom Lori Key is talking to this week.
"On December 11, 2009, my son Nathan was getting off a stopped school bus when someone passed from behind and struck him," Key says.
Her five year old died in his first year of school. After that, Key was vital in getting Nathan's Law passed in Mississippi.
It mandates harsher punishment for drivers who violate school bus laws, and also requires more education for the state's children.
"We've made it a priority for all children in Mississippi to be safe in and around school buses." She's part of the team visiting Desoto County teaching bus safety.
"What they need to do in and around school bus. Don't stop and pick up anything in front of the bus. Make sure they follow directions of the bus driver," says Leonard Swilley, director of transportation with the Mississippi Department of Education.
"When I first come in and ask them questions they don't know the answers," Key says. "Before I walk out, they can tell me what they're supposed to do. It really makes me feel like I'm making a difference."
It's a lesson Herring says she won't forget. "I just know it," she laughs.
The team is talking to 14 DeSoto schools Tuesday through Thursday.