Staff at All-Star Transportation’s Seymour, Conn., location wear blue T-shirts with a call to “Be Nice on My Bus!” as part of the World Day of Bullying Prevention. From left: Manager Steve Gardner and drivers Luke Ishman, Mary Banks, Ana Molina, Robert Stow and Debra MacGregor.
WATERBURY, Conn. — More than 750 school bus drivers, monitors and other employees at All-Star Transportation on Monday donned blue T-shirts calling for students to “Be Nice on My Bus!”
The move is part of the fourth annual Blue Shirt Day, the World Day of Bullying Prevention, which is held on the first Monday of October. Also, October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month.
“There is no such thing as 'sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me’ in real life,” said Safety Supervisor Brenda Bass, who spearheaded the effort at All-Star Transportation. “A child who is bullied is scarred, and it can affect them for the rest of their life.”
Connecticut school bus drivers are mandated by state law (since January 2012) to report in writing any potential bullying issues on buses within 24 hours of the incident. All-Star Transportation drivers have received awareness and prevention training.
"Our buses need to have a safe and secure climate so that each child can feel comfortable and safe," said Leslie Sheldon, co-owner of All-Star Transportation.
Company officials noted the unique environment of a school bus, with one driver responsible for up to 78 children per route while driving a 40-foot vehicle and facing away from the passengers.
“Drivers are expected to maintain the safety inside the bus while facing roads with the challenges that they bring," Bass said.
In 2009, a federal rule went into effect requiring that all new school buses be equipped with 24-inch-high seat backs, which was a 4-inch increase on the height previously mandated.
All-Star officials said that while the increase was made to improve safety in a crash, it makes it even more challenging for the driver to see younger children over the height of the seats.
All-Star Transportation is owned and operated by the Dufour family, which has been in the school transportation business in Connecticut for more than 45 years. The company operates solely in Connecticut, providing school bus transportation services to 30 communities in Litchfield, New Haven, Hartford and upper Fairfield counties.
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