A new program to help pupil transportation professionals deal with bullying is now available for free download.
The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools (OSDFS) developed the training modules, with input from the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT).
"School officials, bus operators and parents in every community must understand that bullying can involve serious psychological and physical harm," NAPT President Linda Bluth said. "All must work diligently to create effective deterrents and responses."
NAPT Executive Director Mike Martin noted that "our industry wants to discourage the incidence of bullying and recognize and deal with it effectively when it occurs. We are very pleased that the U.S. Department of Education shares our view and stepped forward to collaborate with us on content and fund the training."
Kevin Jennings, OSDFS assistant deputy secretary, announced in March that the program was in the works. He said that when he spoke about bullying at the NAPT conference last fall, he was told that many school bus drivers feel that they haven’t had enough training on the topic of bullying.
“There’s an obvious gap that we can fill,” he said.
Jennings arranged and led a conference in Washington, D.C., last Wednesday to preview the new bullying training program, titled "Creating a Safe and Respectful Environment on Our Nation's Buses."
The project is reportedly one of Jennings' last official acts before leaving the Obama administration to return to the private sector.
NAPT said that 27 school transportation professionals from across the nation and representatives of the Safe and Supportive Schools Technical Center helped create the curriculum.
Included are two PowerPoint modules with trainer's guides, posters and other reference components.
Module 1, "See Something. Do Something: Intervening in Bullying Behavior," can now be downloaded from the NAPT website. Module 2, "Creating a Supportive Bus Climate: Preventing Bullying," is slated to be released on Friday.