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The Minnesota School Bus Operators Association (MSBOA) has produced in partnership with law enforcement a new video on unauthorized boarding attempts.
The video demonstrates the need to plan ahead when confronted with an attempt by an unauthorized person to board the school bus.
Shelly Jonas, executive administrator for MSBOA, told SBF that the idea for the video came about last winter when she was working with Jeff Herr, chief of police for the Annandale Police Department, for an active shooter presentation at the association’s January conference.
Jonas explained to Herr that the school transportation business is different from other businesses in that ”not only do we have an office with multiple buildings to secure; we have multiple school buses rolling down public roads that we need to keep secure as well.”
In planning the presentation for the conference, their conversations turned to recent events about unauthorized people boarding school buses (Jonas noted that this was well before the Alabama school bus hijacking).
“Obviously police are trained specifically about body positioning and to think ahead about what unexpected actions a person/suspect might take, but bus drivers are not,” Jonas said. “We realized that this was a real need and was a good opportunity to partner to produce something in order to help keep students safe.
“Chief Herr brought a camera out to our bus company and demonstrated some body positioning techniques to include in his presentation. Following the presentation, the attendees kept calling and asking for that presentation to show their drivers. The chief made some edits and added some parts so that it would stand alone as a training video.”
Concepts covered in “Unauthorized Rider” include speaking to an unauthorized person from behind a closed door or an open window to prevent the individual from boarding the bus; using clear, concise directions and commands to get the person to listen; and the need to communicate with dispatch — all unauthorized people should be directed to contact dispatch or school personnel.
Activities in the video include an example of how a driver should not handle unauthorized people, as it puts them in control of the bus.
MSBOA has also developed an instructor’s guide to accompany the DVD.
For more information about “Unauthorized Rider,” and to access the instructor’s guide, visit MSBOA’s website and click on the "School Bus Safety" tab on the top right-hand side of the home page.
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