ALBANY, N.Y. — The Cyr Foundation for Excellence in School Transportation is now offering an educational program that is designed to increase awareness and sensitivity of school bus drivers, attendants, and monitors to gender-related issues on their buses.

Created for the Cyr Foundation by the Pupil Transportation Safety Institute (PTSI) of Syracuse, and sponsored by the Utica National Insurance Group, the course will offer drivers and monitors an understanding of the laws governing bullying and discrimination of students who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, or questioning their gender.

The program also aims to explore the social trends in this arena in a way that applies to school bus management, and to help the attendees to develop their skills in creating a positive environment for all students who ride their school buses.

The program includes data about LGBTQ students, bullying trends and patterns, violence toward and personal injuries of these students, and more. Most importantly, it provides participants with practical approaches to gender-related bullying and an awareness of their roles as leaders and supporters on the school bus.

Gender-related bullying has increased in recent years and students who are victims of bullying have reportedly avoided school or the school bus ride entirely, according to the Cyr Foundation.

“We are so happy to bring this new program to school bus professionals in the state and proud that this effort will help each of them to create a safe place for all children who ride our yellow school buses,” said JoAnn Martin, the transportation supervisor for Tuxedo Union Free School District, and past president of the Cyr Foundation.

“School bus drivers and monitors are vital to the safety of our children, and ensuring that they are prepared to address and support all students who ride their school bus is vital to their effectiveness in the driver's seat,” said Peter Mannella, executive director of the Cyr Foundation.

“PTSI is proud to have this opportunity to support the development of this important course for drivers, attendants and monitors,” said Kathleen Furneaux, PTSI’s executive director. “We have dedicated our work to improving the capacity of these women and men, and this course adds significantly to that body of work.”

The Cyr Foundation for Excellence in School Transportation is a nonprofit educational organization affiliated with the New York Association for Pupil Transportation. The foundation is dedicated to increasing education and training for school transportation professionals at all levels and responsibilities.

For more information, contact Peter Mannella at (518) 463-4937 or peter@nyapt.org.

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