Tricia Thein, Decorah Chief of Police; Dan Marx, Winneshiek County Sheriff; and Tim Cronin, DCSD Superintendent, have received a steady stream of reports from school bus drivers indicating that several vehicles have been illegally passing school buses, jeopardizing the lives of students.

This week, Decorah bus drivers reported four stop-arm violations.

Thein, Marx, and Cronin want to emphasize in the strongest possible terms that passing a school bus with its stop arm extended is not only illegal but also incredibly dangerous. They stated, “The safety of our children is paramount, and we cannot tolerate reckless behavior that puts their lives at risk.”

The Decorah Community School District buses are equipped with cameras that capture these violations, and the footage is promptly turned over to the Winneshiek County Sheriff’s Office, Decorah Police Department, and Iowa State Patrol. Offenders will be identified, and appropriate legal actions–including fines–will be taken against them. Fines for school bus stop-arm violations range from $345-$930, and offenders WILL lose their license for 30 days upon conviction—for the first offense.

“We urge all drivers in Winneshiek County to be vigilant, patient, and considerate on the roads, especially during school hours,” Thein, Marx, and Cronin continued. “Please share this message with your family, friends, and neighbors to raise awareness about the gravity of this issue. Let us work together as a community to ensure the safety and well-being of our children. By respecting the stop arm on school buses, we can create a secure environment for our students to learn, grow, and thrive.”

Students getting off bus