Last week we asked our community of school bus advocates what they were doing to prevent and stop bullying. Simply put, we were blown away by the responses. From drivers, to administrators, to entire corporations, it is clear that the school bus community is committed to ending bullying once and for all. We appreciated everyone’s contributions and hope to engage in discussions like this more in the future.
Below, you will find some examples of how the school bus community is leading the charge to prevent bullying and make our schools safer. We all agree bullying is unacceptable: on the bus, at school, or anywhere in the community. Let’s all please continue to work together to make our schools safer for our children and for generations to come.
Question: What are you doing to prevent bullying?
Iris (School Bus Driver): Stop it before it starts. It needs to be addressed immediately. In my 19 years of driving, I have never had the problem escalate beyond interaction. If that is not effective then communication with school and parents is also the key.
Delany Bus Lines (Student Transportation Company): Members of the Boys and Girls Club of Cornwall and SD&G and the team from Delaney Bus Lines painted the City of Cornwall and area pink on February 29 to take a stand against bullying. Many clubs, schools and residents wore pink on Pink Shirt Day to help promote anti-bullying and spread the word that bullying will not be tolerated.
Amy (School Bus Driver): My year starts out with a clear establishment of what the districts policies are for riding the bus, safety rules, acceptable behavior and language, and what is permitted and not permitted on the bus. These are also outlined in a parent packet I send home the first week of school with a welcome letter, safety information and a copy of the code of conduct on my bus. There is also a reward program in place for exemplary safety and conduct on the bus and at the stop, with peer recognition. The students are made aware that there are 4 cameras on the bus and from personal experience, the resolution is excellent and that sound is also recorded. The students understand that I have an expectation of them to be respectful to each other as well as me and my bus. We are a tight community with as many as 70 riders, so cooperation is essential. I make it a point to greet my riders day and night, learn their names and a bit about them. With this interaction, they build trust and we are able to address problems, should they arise. Students who I have noticed pushing the envelope with their behavior are either addressed by name and corrected respectfully "_____ legs out of the aisle, please! Thank you, ______!" If continued behavior is noted, their name is on the board to see me after route, or they are counseled off the bus before boarding. Generally there is compliance, however there are times when things must go to the administrative level. Students who have felt they were bullied or harassed or have seen others the subject of such, know and trust that they can come to me and it will be dealt with fairly and consistently. I do not believe in total bus seat assignments at this age, however, if acceptable behavior cannot be maintained, selective seat assignments are made. With these in place, I generally have a smooth ride.
Judy: We have camera's on all our buses and believe me, the students know it. We also have a ticket system and bullying is a BIG NO NO. First ticket is a warning and a trip to the office. Second ticket is a week off the bus and a trip to the office. Third ticket is a month off the bus and if a fourth ticket is needed they won't be back on the bus for the remainder of the year.
Darline (School Bus Driver): I always nip it before it becomes bullying. Our school bus has a no bullying policy or you get to sit up front with me and nobody wants that. But if we ever do I would be the first to pull over in a safe place and put a stop to it and then write them up for follow up on THE NO BULLYING POLICY!!!!