State pupil transportation directors will convene in Kansas City, Missouri, next month to discuss such topics as school bus evacuations, stop-arm violations, and service animals.
Sessions at the upcoming Summit in Kansas City will cover such topics as school bus technology, budgets, safety, and security.
The “See Something, Say Something” concept advises that everyone has a responsibility to report suspicious activity. School bus driver Shawn Ost and his passengers did just that when a strange van was parked in a driveway at a bus stop.
Partnering with law enforcement, taking advantage of federal security assessments and student tracking are some of the measures contractors are taking to ensure a safer school bus ride.
From thorough pre-trip inspections to building rapport with students, here are 10 practices that can help prevent or respond to security threats.
After more than a year on hiatus, the government program is set to come back online soon to resume the training of transportation professionals in security awareness. Bill Arrington and Steve Sprague of the Transportation Security Administration discuss the ongoing efforts to launch First Observer 2.0.
HMS Co., which has administered First Observer since 2008, stops receiving funding, but the Transportation Security Administration has reportedly said that the program will be active again in the near future. Meantime, classroom training and other program functions have been placed on hold.
School Bus First Observer has instructed tens of thousands of drivers and other pupil transportation personnel on identifying and reporting suspicious activities. Program Manager Charles Hall says that the industry has “much to be proud of.”
The Transportation Security Administration is mailing the School Bus First Observer and School Transportation Security Awareness programs to around 15,000 public school districts, urging administrators to use them for in-service training. Agency official Steve Sprague also tells SBF that First Observer will continue beyond the three-year grant that created it.
In “School Bus Drivers: The 1st Line of Defense Against Child Sexual Predators,” Dr. Duane Dobbert explains different types of sexual disorders and how to identify people who are afflicted with them. The program, which Dobbert recently taught to a group in West Virginia, has been endorsed by the Department of Homeland Security.
Although the bombing failed, it brings back to the spotlight the fact that terrorists are seeking to carry out attacks on U.S. soil.
Robert Harding, a former Army intelligence official, will head the Transportation Security Administration if confirmed by the Senate. In other news, the agency’s long-awaited school bus security assessment has reportedly been sent to Congress.
State directors are battling budget shortfalls, but NASDPTS President Charlie Hood says that they remain optimistic. The association’s work with federal agencies and other industry groups targets the betterment of school transportation.