STN Expo: Perspectives on Driver Training
published on November 24, 2017 by Sonia MastrosThough riding a school bus remains one of the safest forms of transportation available, an increased emphasis on school bus driver training across the country aims to increase student safety for those with special needs. At the most recent STN EXPO, three different perspectives on this topic were shared, demonstrating that focus on student safety requires consideration of the needs of students, school bus drivers, student attendants and transportation directors.
Safety Considerations for Special Needs Riders
At the expo, a consultant, former student and attendant with disabilities discussed school bus safety. Two areas of focus in his talk were the need for student assistance on buses and the scheduling of safety/evacuation drills. Although mixing students of various ages and grades on a bus may seem like a fuel and time-saving option, this consultant suggested that this can often lead to consequences like bullying. If this mix is necessary, attendants should be trained to handle the behavior of students in all age ranges.
Looking at it from another perspective, an experienced transportation director, who has worked as a school bus driver, attendant and trainer, stressed the benefits of placing students in the least restrictive environment (LRE). Of course, keeping riders safe is of utmost importance, but fostering independence is also a vital consideration. Ensuring that all drivers, attendants and managers are fully informed of a student’s IEP requirements was another key suggestion.
Ongoing Training and Support
Consistent training and support is helping school districts to better manage the transportations of all of their students. By focusing on more than the technical side of transportation, students are better served. As more transportation departments offer education in skills like conflict management, team building and active listening, their reputations as safety-conscious professionals are becoming well established.
Providing additional support in the form of student safety software can also help school districts maintain their focus on safety. Many programs, such as school bus and rider tracking software, keep parents and transportation staff fully informed and allow for a quicker response time when an emergency does occur.
For more information on the safety protocols that are helping school bus drivers and transportation teams to keep their students safe on the bus, contact the team at BusBoss.
Has viewing training from different perspectives helped your district to improve its safety record? Which safety tips have you found most helpful? We appreciate your feedback!