Bus Routing - Dealing With School Bus Conflicts
published on January 03, 2012 by Dwight Straesser
As a transportation director, much of your day may be spent dealing with conflict. You may need to set up a meeting with a parent whose student is misbehaving on the bus. The parent may blame the bus driver for picking on their child; the bus driver may want the student suspended from the bus; the parent may want the bus driver fired. You will deal with multiple parties that have different expectations for an outcome. It is your job to come up with a resolution that will be acceptable to all parties. This is not always an easy task. Here are a few tips that may help.
- Investigate the situation – Try to get input from all sides prior to a meeting. Find out what the parent wants. Ask the principal to interview students on the bus. Try to get any video of students on the bus if available. Speak to the bus driver and get their side of the story.
- Listen – Many times an angry parent just wants you to listen to them. Make them feel that you are going to be objective in your decision and that you understand their concerns. Be careful not to promise anything that you can’t deliver. Try to be non-confrontational and avoid getting emotional during the conversation. If the conservation turns ugly, politely indicate that you will need to continue at another time when the parent has calmed down.
- Explain your reasons for a decision – If you can’t give the parent what they want, explain your reasons. Include any state laws or regulations that may apply. Assure them that you will continue to monitor the situation for any future issues. Try to end the interaction on a positive note.
Realize that many times it may be impossible to give all parties the outcome that they want. However, if you are professional and caring in your interactions, it will serve you well in your career.