OWENSBORO, Ky. — School bus drivers and monitors from four of the state's school districts recently took part in a specialized training that focused on various strategies for positive student behavior management.
The four-hour training session, called “Love and Logic,” was held on July 25 as part of the drivers’ annual state training requirements, Downey Ward, the transportation director for Daviess County Public Schools, told School Bus Fleet. Approximately 300 drivers and bus monitors from Daviess County, Hancock County, McLean County, and Owensboro Public Schools attended the event, which was designed to help transportation professionals recognize and respond to challenging student behaviors using trauma-informed practices.
“The training specifically presented the driver-monitor teams with another set of tools to enable more positive interaction with students and to recognize when apparent non-compliance events may be stemming from issues the students are experiencing outside the school environment,” Ward said.
Christina Dalton, a social worker for Daviess County Public Schools who facilitated the training, along with Leslie Peveler, one of the district’s elementary school principals, told SBF that the training emphasized the importance of displaying “true empathy” with students on the bus before enforcing any consequences for their behavior. As part of the training activities, Dalton said each driver had the opportunity to develop an empathetic statement that they would recite to students whenever they experience a behavior issue on the bus.
“[Drivers] could develop a statement like ‘I’m sorry you feel that way’ or ‘I’m sorry that happened to you,’ without coming across as sarcastic,” she explained. “[The drivers] need to come up with a statement that they feel comfortable saying to students, and then when they can deliver that sense of empathy, it allows the student not to get upset with them.”
Dalton added that at the end of the training all the bus drivers and monitors received an evaluation survey to provide feedback on whether they found the techniques helpful. Depending on the feedback, Dalton said that Daviess County Public Schools' transportation department may continue using “Love and Logic” as part of its annual driver training.