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November 03, 2011  |   Comments (1)   |   Post a comment

Bus security DVD sent to nation’s school districts


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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is sending a school bus security training program to around 15,000 public school districts, urging administrators to use it for in-service training.

Steve Sprague, TSA’s licensing, infrastructure, passenger security and grants branch chief, told state pupil transportation directors during their recent conference that the agency is mailing a DVD that has the School Bus First Observer and School Transportation Security Awareness programs to superintendents “because they have to be clued in.”

(TSA got a list of the nation’s superintendents from the U.S. Department of Education.)

Sprague noted at the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) conference that state directors should reinforce the message of the DVDs.

TSA has credited the pupil transportation industry with being one of the First Observer program’s biggest supporters, having already presented the school bus module to thousands of drivers, dispatchers and others in the system.

In related news, TSA is sending around 4,000 DVDs of the First Observer motorcoach module to every motorcoach and commercial bus company on a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration list.

Sprague also told SBF that the First Observer program, which was created by a three-year grant in 2008, will continue as a program within TSA.

“After the demise and disappearance of the ATA's [American Trucking Associations’] Highway Watch program, many worried that First Observer would endure the same fate when the grant money ran out,” he said. “We've taken steps to see that it doesn't happen. That's good news on every front.”

At the NASDPTS conference, Sprague noted the importance of security training for pupil transportation professionals.

“Some of the Bin Laden files demonstrated that [terrorists] have been open to choosing softer targets,” Sprague said. “There is nothing we’ve seen that tells us school buses are being targeted, but they could be seen as an opportune target. The key step is awareness.”

 


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Read more about: conferences, NASDPTS, school bus security, TSA


One of the biggest issues I've seen in my 27 years is money. Everyone worries who is going to pay for these programs especially when the grant monies go away due to the federal level and state level budget cuts. Local school systems can only account for so much of the cost-per-student expenses inside a classroom yet no one I've ever talked to has a business plan for expendatures that forecast where they can and or should spend "X" amount of dollars on training personnel and the long term or short term benefits overall to their respective school systems. If it were not for magazines such as School Bus Fleet and School Transportation News most of us would still be trying to re-invent the "wheel" in that none of us would be able to share important industry information - so we would still be flying by the seat of our pants. Just because a school system has to cut their budget to the bone does not mean we still can't link up together in the industry forums. We've done fairly well at sharing ideas and issue we've all ran into throughout our years. What do you think will happen when YOU retire? Someone hopefully has been trained or studied under you or cares enough to do the right things in the process of keeping the Nation's children safe. You would hope that your maintenance departments see the importance of building fenced in areas and has a constant roving security guard and security cameras watching your multi-million dollar investment in the school bus fleet that your school board owns. School systems should be allowed some type of a tax deduction/expendature deduction allotment just like a private business can when a school system re-invest tax money back into the local school system infrastructure building and grounds instead of being subjected to cut-backs when money will be spent in areas that may not be directly accounted to in-class room student expenses. School systems are a major employer in most communities and most have had or do have their own children go

Dan Luttrell    |    Nov 04, 2011 09:11 AM

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