Should School Bus Drivers Get Diversity Training?
published on December 22, 2017 by Sonia MastrosWhile it's true that bus driver training is already a fairly lengthy process, more school districts are starting to add another element to their curriculum: diversity training. Providing diversity training to your school bus drivers can help them fit in better among your other district employees, as well as reduce the chances of unfortunate misunderstandings during their interactions with students or parents.
Providing such training to bus drivers is far from universal, but it could be well worth the slight addition to your training program.
Five Reasons to Consider Diversity Training for Your School Bus Drivers
1. Attract a wider variety of drivers.
To a job applicant, seeing that diversity training is on the menu can signal that your district is serious about having a wide variety of employees - and treating them well. For a potential driver who's "on the fence" about what district to work for, this could be a compelling factor, particularly if they are part of a minority group.
With the school bus driver shortage continuing unabated, you need every advantage you can get.
2. Increase a sense of teamwork.
In some districts, drivers can start feeling like "second class" employees - left out of the loop for matters that don't pertain to driving. Diversity and inclusivity training can therefore help them feel more included! Besides improving productivity when they're dealing with other aspects of the district, this can be an advantage for retaining the drivers you have.
3. Develop more respect for students.
In many cases, showing respect for students can help improve discipline problems. Or, at least, disrespecting students will almost always lead to discipline issues. A school bus driver who has received diversity training, and understands how to interact with students of various backgrounds in a respectful manner, is very likely to have an easier time keeping students under control.
4. Prevent misunderstandings with parents.
Let's be honest, some parents spend a lot of time looking for reasons to get offended on behalf of their child, whether it's warranted or not. This inevitably results in trouble for yourself, the driver, or other people associated with the district. Diversity training can help ensure bus drivers interact with parents in ways that are least-likely to provoke a harmful confrontation.
5. Less chance of legal action.
Not to overstate this point, but there is always the chance of someone - be it a parent or coworker - trying to build a lawsuit out of a misunderstanding or poor choice of words. Anything which helps decrease the chances of that happening is going to be beneficial for districts.
Is It Time for Diversity Training?
Is your district implementing diversity training for its school bus drivers? Share your thoughts in the comments below!