National School Bus Safety Week, running from Oct. 19-23, is an initiative that is designed to promote school bus safety among parents, students, school bus operators and other motorists. Thousands of school districts in over 40 states observe School Bus Safety Week with a variety of activities for students and school bus operators alike.
According to the IPS Transportation department, we transport nearly 25,389 students safely to and from school, traveling nearly 17,500 miles per day. In order to serve that many students, it requires a large number of highly qualified professionals to execute the task. The IPS Transportation department currently has 475 drivers and over 300 bus monitors, these individuals run roughly 411 bus routes on a daily basis.
‘Bully Free Zone’ is the theme chosen for this year, each driver will receive professional development training about bullying. The training features intervention techniques to help bus staff promptly identify and address unsatisfactory behaviors before they escalate. Nearly one in five students are subjects of bullying. Because the driver is operating the bus, supervision can be limited at times, which makes small acts of bullying hard to notice. Severe cases of bullying can distract the driver, increasing the risk of vehicular accidents. By training our staff how to recognize the early signs of bullying and how to react to it, IPS can create a bully-free learning environment for our students.
Motorists are one of the biggest safety issues that bus drivers face across the nation. National School Bus Safety Week is in place to remind drivers of the extreme safety hazard to our children when they fail to stop for buses. We urge drivers to be cautious of their surroundings and to always stop for a school bus when the stop arm is extended. Even on a multi-lane road, when the red lights are flashing, that indicates that students are getting on or off of the bus, and drivers should remain stopped until the stop arm is retracted.
Our bus drivers have a huge responsibility and training them properly is the key to keeping our kids safe. The best way to make bus transit even safer would be “having the community be aware of their surroundings. Our biggest goal is for drivers to stop for that yellow bus,” says Monica Coburn, Transportation Director for IPS. “We also would like to create safer bus stops for our students; we are currently looking at ways to improve.”