Tackling School Bus Bullying

By: Lindsey Yates Email
By: Lindsey Yates Email

"We have zero tolerance for bullying."
 

Bullying on school buses has been an international problem for quite some time but as parents you want to make sure your child gets home safe.

Those at the Warren County Schools Transportation Department implement anti-bullying protocol and innovative techniques to alleviate bullying.

Sheila Jones has been a bus driver for 9 years and says she has seldom had to deal with bullying aboard her bus, the key to success being, to stop it before it starts.

"When they get on the bus if we see them their actions, their facial expressions, and I'll ask have you had a bad day? Are you upset with someone? More importantly are you upset with someone on the bus?" says Jones.
On the first day of school she makes sure her students know the rules, but also feel as if they can communicate with her.

"It's very crucial to talk to your students and let them know you care. I love everyone of my students," says Jones.

The Warren County School District, alone, has 180 buses on the road that carry 8,500 students to and from school each day, with bullying bound to occur, training is essential.

"We have zero tolerance for bullying kids should have a safe and comfortable ride to school so we train our drivers in de-escalation," says John Odom, Director of Warren Co. Schools Transportation Department.

With cameras, mirrors, and radios in each bus the driver is able to keep an eye open in case a situation gets out of hand.

"We have them observe first, and then they got out with a seasoned driver, and they are taught how to look up at the mirror. Glance, look down, glance, look down," says Odom.

"We're doing a visual scan every five seconds, looking in our mirrors," adds Jones.

If a fight were to occur there are certain steps the driver is instructed to take.

"They try to diffuse the situation and hopefully it doesn't escalate, and they try to get the students separated. If it gets into something more sometimes they have to call transportation and authorities," says Allen Blythe, Training and Safety Manager for Warren County Schools.

Jones says she believes establishing a relationship with her students to gain respect has been successful.

"Smiling at them, talking to them, and laughing with them. It's very important to what we do," she says.

Odom says if a parent knows their child is being bullied its important to report it.

Warren County Schools is also starting to incorporate the leader in me program aboard school buses in addition to in the class room in hopes the techniques will reduce bullying.


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