SELAH, Wash. — A school district here has reduced student behavior problems on the bus with a program that has older students mentor younger ones, Yakima Herald reports.

Selah School District employees started Selah Pride Patrol to help the youngest students riding the school bus learn proper bus etiquette and reduce behavior problems, according to the newspaper. The patrol is made up of middle school and high school students, who model good behavior, reward students who behave well with tickets that can be redeemed for prizes, and gently remind those who misbehave to improve.

Debbie McGuire, who trains bus drivers for the district, told Yakima Herald that the district noticed that many of the 284 write-ups for behavior problems on buses, such as for fighting and being disruptive, were coming from primary school students, who are still trying to adapt to the structure of school. McGuire said that one bus driver saw fewer students misbehaving on her bus, and she had been getting some of the intermediate school students to sit with the younger ones and keep them occupied.

Debbie Heide, the district’s transportation director, told Yakima Herald that behavior problems have dropped significantly among primary and middle school students as a result of the program. Donna Ziegler, the transportation director for Wahluke School District, told the newspaper that she will meet with principals and staff members to implement the program at her district.

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