May 04, 2012

Bullying on the Bus - Making the School Bus Safe for All Students

CINCINNATI — On March 30, the much-anticipated movie “Bully” will open across the country, giving audiences a look into a the epidemic of bullying in American schools.  But bullying does not just happen at school, in the cafeteria or the playground.  Bullying is also a problem on school buses. That's why First Student, the largest provider of student transportation in North America, continues to educate its drivers to recognize bullying and train them on how to stop it.

First Student's Anti-Bullying Campaign

This school year First Student launched a new anti-bullying safety campaign for all of its drivers and attendants.  The campaign, called “See Something. Do Something.” is based on a campaign created by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools and the National Association for Pupil Transportation and customized for First Student's more than 59,000 bus drivers. The campaign includes the following elements:

  • Drivers are taught how to identify bully behavior, whether it is physical or verbal, and trained specifically on how to stop it.
  • Drivers are encouraged to adopt a zero tolerance policy on their school buses and will not accept any type of bullying behavior from their students.
  • Drivers are provided with resources such as posters, brochures, tips and a calendar to display in the workplace to help them put their training into action.
  • The campaign includes a special component on being watchful and mindful of children with special needs and creating an environment that is nurturing to them.
  • The campaign includes topics such as “Top 10 Ways to Intervene When You Suspect Bullying,” “Top 10 Ways to Foster Trust and Respect,” and “7 Steps for Positive Discipline.”

Why is a school bus company relevant to the topic of bullying?

Unfortunately, school buses can be the breeding grounds for damaging behavior among students.  Consider this:

  • 52 percent of school bus drivers believe bullying is a serious problem on their school bus
  • Two-thirds of school bus drivers say they have received complaints from students about bullying on their school buses
  • First Student school buses transport more than 6 million students each school day
  • Students are on the bus two times a day for up to an hour or more, depending on traffic, geographic location and weather conditions