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June 02, 2011  |   Comments (5)   |   Post a comment

No bullies on board

Cutting down on bus bullying will help in bringing students to school ready to learn, and it will allow the driver to stay more focused on driving safely.

by Frank Di Giacomo - Also by this author


For those involved in transporting students, bullying is an issue that's always on the radar screen. But over the past several months, it has taken on increased attention in the school bus industry, the education community
in general and beyond.

State and national pupil transportation groups have been addressing bullying in recent conferences, training sessions and publications.

In February, an Oregon Pupil Transportation Association chapter held a workshop that featured a mock bullying/hostage exercise on a bus with a SWAT team responding.

The National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) held a panel discussion on bullying at its conference last fall and issued a white paper, which can be downloaded at under "White Papers."

Federal focus
Further highlighting the urgency of the topic, the Obama administration in March held the first White House Conference on Bullying Prevention. About 150 students, parents, teachers, advocates and policymakers came together to discuss how to make schools and communities safer for all students.

"If there's one goal of this conference, it's to dispel the myth that bullying is just a harmless rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up. It's not," President Obama said. "Bullying can have destructive consequences for our young people. And it's not something we have to accept."

The White House cited estimates that nearly one-third of all school-age children are bullied each year — upwards of 13 million students.

Free training coming
One Obama administration official, Kevin Jennings of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), has been reaching out to the school transportation community to promote anti-bullying efforts.

Jennings, who serves as assistant deputy secretary at the DOE's Office of Safe & Drug-Free Schools, spoke at the NAPT conference in Portland, Ore., last fall and again at the Transporting Students With Disabilities and Preschoolers conference in Kansas City, Mo., in March.

A particularly noteworthy part of Jennings' presentation in Kansas City was his announcement that the DOE will offer a free training program to help school bus drivers deal with bullying. The program is expected to be released in July.

Jennings said that when he spoke at the NAPT conference, he was told that many school bus drivers feel that they haven't had enough training in the area of bullying. That notion was also pointed out in a survey by the National Education Association (NEA).

"There's an obvious gap that we can fill," Jennings said.

He also cited NEA statistics indicating that the school bus is the No. 3 location where students are bullied, with No. 1 being inside the school building and No. 2 being outside of the school.

Cutting down on bus bullying will help in the goal of bringing students to school ready to learn, and it will allow the driver to stay more focused on driving safely.

Kudos to Jennings and the DOE for listening to pupil transporters' request - and responding to it.

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Read more about: bullying, NAPT

But what about the information about the bus drivers? You need to have info. about how the bus drivers react and how some don't even worry about it and why that is a problem. Try looking at different web sites and see what they have to say about it. Then you can refer off of that and I'm only in (something you don't need to now) grade and I can barley gather as much info as you its true! P.S. You can do it good work though I will enjoy you website no mater what! :)

supman    |    Oct 30, 2013 03:12 PM

The actual training module turned out much better than a previous white paper discussing the pending training's contents. The NAPT bus driver training module does include a seat change as a remedy, a maneuver that often helps resolve an issue. Where the provider and their bus drivers stay on task to put a stop to bullying is where violence on the buses can be stopped. The module seems to miss a few import issues, such as what to do when the child and adult bullies involved turn from bullying each other to bullying the bus driver. Perhaps that will be presented in the next module. The module remains a great start where the transportation providers and their school bus drivers stay on task. The NAPT school bus driver training module, See Something. Do Something: Intervening in Bullying Behavior, is available at this link:

jkraemer    |    Jun 19, 2011 10:57 AM

Continued from below: The answer and well known among researchers is, NO, not all bullying can be eliminated. New methods to bully are evolving as you read this terse comment. As much as 80-percent of bullying is accomplished in secret in the schools and close to the same outcome on the school buses where hiring practices, training, and lack of support fail to meet standards appropriate to establishing and maintaining safer, calmer school bus environments for children, as well as hostile free workplaces for their bus drivers. The best trained and supported school bus driver dedicated to remaining on task will catch less than fifty-percent of the bullying on his or her bus, that fifty-percent most often found among the most hostile students, often the same students that are hostile toward the bus driver as well. Been on the front-line for over twenty-years and have intervened in a multitude of bullying events. Successful bus driver interventions can help change the lives of the targets and also help intervene in the hostile malbehavior of some of the bullies, which started with a bus driver prepared and on task. The more success the more targets that come forward asking for help. But hardly can this happen when the bus driver is treated like an incompetent behind the wheel of his or her own bus. What is unfortunate is that no intelligent child can trust a bus driver that can not even depend on support to effectively defend his or her workplace from the hostile, be they some children or some adults. Do not try to 'fix' the bully. The task of the bus driver is to identify and immediately remove any hostile child from his or her bus environment, in my opinion. Then safely drive the school bus with children that appreciate the necessity to respect fellows, the bus driver, and self when riding the school bus. No exceptions.

jkraemer    |    Jun 06, 2011 10:47 PM

Very much agree with targets having access to Sprigeo online. Not so impressed with the White Papers, “NAPT White Paper on Bullying.” The paper is very good in some respects, and also evasive in other parts. Overall an adequate report, in my opinion but lacking proper training and support for the bus driver, that is lacking in strategies that promote direct and immediate intervention at the bus level and by the bus driver. The report states, "Is bullying on the school buses common?" Researchers say it is not only common but out of control and escalating on the school buses in many communities across the country. The report states, "The root causes and solutions involve larger societal issues that are very complex," any of which are dealt with or not off the bus and after the bus driver has acted to immediately remove the hostile child from the bus for at least that run. But the report states and sadly done, "Bus drivers are very limited...," and proceeds to apologize while presenting school bus drivers as incompetent professionals at perceiving and immediately intervening in the moment on their school buses. Not only can properly hired, trained and supported drivers correctly perceive an event, but when the child turns his or her tactics on the driver, the calm driver that knows what to look for can then note and provide the school with those otherwise missed bullying tactics that the child may well be acting out in secret toward children in the school. Then the big question, "Can Bullying be eliminated?" Followed by, "The answer, unfortunately, is nobody knows for sure." Nobody? Nobody in England and much of Europe where workplace and schoolplace bullying has been researched to near death and remedies presented long before the United States finally started to act on this issue. Dr, Gary Namie, the nation's leading expert on workplace and on the fast track to helping stop schoolplace bullying does not know the answer? The answer and well known among researchers is

jkraemer    |    Jun 06, 2011 10:43 PM

Wonderful to see school bus drivers joining the team of education professionals who are working towards bringing bullying to an end. The morning school bus ride often results in a series of bullying incidents among children. Students at one middle school in Las Vegas, Nevada sent in an online bullying report shortly after arriving on the school campus indicating that a student had planned to bring a knife to the middle school campus and kill himself and another child. The school principal received the bullying report in an email, generated by the Sprigeo online reporting system that the student had accessed through one of the school's computers. The result: the principal found the student and was able to resolve any potential threat of violence before it occurred. In the short time since the web site's official launch last November, Sprigeo has received thousands of reports. School administrators receive the reports instantly, which gives them the ability to take immediate action resulting in a safer school environment for all students. Last year 160,000 students missed school because they didn't feel safe. We're planning to restore the safe feeling kids want to have each day by bringing Sprigeo to schools nationwide this coming fall. Regards, Joe Bruzzese

Joe Bruzzese    |    Jun 06, 2011 05:55 AM

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