As a behavior management and safety practice, some school bus operations use assigned seating, or they separate older students from younger students if they ride on the same bus. But what about separating passengers by gender?
In Atlanta, some high school and middle school boys and girls have been split up on the bus to improve behavior. As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported recently, the topic has become a point of discussion on Facebook among local parents.
To find out more about this approach to bus behavior, I talked to two Atlanta Public Schools officials: John Franklin, executive director of transportation, and Kimberly Willis Green, media relations manager.
Franklin and Green told me that the district’s school bus drivers are given autonomy to decide how to seat their passengers based on their routes and what they observe from the students. Some drivers have found that managing student behavior is easier when boys and girls are separated.
“The goal here is safety,” Franklin said. “A less distracted driver is more focused on the road.”
Beyond the bus, Green noted that some of the district’s schools have set up voluntary single-gender classrooms. Atlanta Public Schools also has an all-boys academy and an all-girls academy that students can choose to attend.
In fact, a growing number of public schools in the U.S. are offering voluntary single-sex classrooms, although the goal here goes beyond behavior — it’s more about accommodating different learning styles and promoting more diverse academic achievement for both genders.
On the school bus, though, we haven’t heard of many cases in which boys and girls are separated. Have you tried this approach at your operation? And, if so, have you seen improvements in behavior or other benefits?
If you have any insight on this topic, post a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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