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Mar 6, 2014, 11:24 AM

A Turning Point in School Bus Transportation

Long gone, now, are the days when drivers parked at school with the doors casually opened waiting for students. The trip to school and home again in the yellow bus has changed forever – and that’s a good thing.

Education and transportation thought leaders, including First Student, are constantly striving to provide a safer, more secure bus ride for the nation's schoolchildren. To that end, First Student has taken an industry-leading position in developing training tools for drivers, better informing them of how to maintain a security mindset at all times.

The centerpiece of this driver training initiative is risk-awareness material called School Bus Security During Loading and Unloading, consisting of a PowerPoint presentation and videos developed by a working group under the auspices of the National School Transportation Association (NSTA).  The working group included NSTA members, the Pupil Transportation Safety Institute, and government agencies.

As chairman of the NSTA Safety & Security Committee, I'm proud to say that with First Student's full support, I helped develop these new training tools. Based on the information in hand from the current school year, the training already is resulting in improvements. In the 2013-2014 school year, our bus drivers have reported actions they have taken based on the training that have helped to prevent events from escalating and have successfully thwarted harm.

I’d like to think that when they go to write the history of school bus transportation security, the 2013-2014 school year will be considered a turning point. I urge our industry partners to take advantage of the School Bus Security During Loading and Unloading training materials. It could mean saving a child's life.