My classmates and I were probably in 2nd or 3rd Grade when we were shown these films in class. There were three films total, I think, each one shown to a different grade.
The one my class was shown involved a little Asian girl getting crushed under a bus wheel because the driver was distracted by other kids’ horseplay at the back of the bus and the little girl carelessly ran back to retrieve a drawing she’d dropped outside the wheel well of the bus.
Watching the short recently on You Tube for the first time in many years, I realized that the little girl wasn’t shown lying dead in a pool of bright red blood, as I’d remembered seeing it as a 2nd Grader, but was only wearing a bright red skirt. Funny how my 7-year-old brain processed that information and kept it alive in my memory all those years.
(At the time we were first exposed to these films, my stepbrother, a year younger than I, told me the film his class was shown depicted a kid playing with a pocket knife on a bus ride home.
When the bus hit a bump and its unrestrained passengers bounced up in their seats, Pocket Knife Kid supposedly, accidentally, planted the unfolded blade in his eye. Really sick and bloody, my stepbrother exclaimed.
I always suspected he was lying in order to one-up my experience in a different classroom. I’ve never been able to corroborate that such a Death Zone episode ever existed. And my stepbrother had a habit back then of fabricating lurid stories for attention’s sake.)
Even so, minus any explicit gore, the shorts do offer a vivid depiction of careless kids getting seriously injured under the wheels of school buses…not something I would expect kids of that age nowadays, in our ‘enlightened’ soft-but-sensible PC bubble culture, to ever come close to being exposed to in an elementary school classroom.
But those ‘horrible’ school bus safety films left a strong impression. They worked, at least as far as my classmates were concerned.