Improving Student Safety on the School Bus

According to the American School Bus Council, an estimated 480,000 school buses carry 26 million children – more than half of America’s schoolchildren – each day, making school buses the largest form of mass transit in the U.S. and driver training a top priority for school districts. Our bus drivers have a great responsibility to keep our kids safe.

We know many drivers are not transporting students during this time with school closures, but this might be a good opportunity to address some of your drivers’ key training needs.

The National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) conducted a survey about how prepared transportation staff feel about bullying on the school bus. Here are a few key statistics from that report:

The most requested additional training topics, from the survey results, were: 

  • Reporting responsibilities.
  • Best practices for managing students and student behavior.
  • How to defuse crisis situations.
  • Better knowledge of community and social issues.

Cheryl Spittler, a school climate expert who has trained thousands of bus drivers in behavioral management, suggests three easy strategies school bus drivers can use to help maintain order on their bus: 

  1. Get to know the students on your bus. “By getting to know your students and creating a safe space where they feel you are truly interested in them as individuals, they are more open to sharing potential concerns and are also more likely to comply with school bus rules,” said Spittler.
  2. Be on the lookout for positive behavior as well as negative behavior. While it’s important to scan for harmful behavior such as bullying, it’s also important to acknowledge positive behavior from students (stepping in when someone is getting bullied, helping a younger student with their backpack, etc.).
  3. Utilize anonymous tip boxes or an anonymous reporting system. A school bus is an extension of the school, so make sure your students are aware that they can also report safety concerns that occur on the school bus. Spittler emphasizes, “Make sure you’re always checking it, keeping it confidential and following through with them.”

How SafeSchools Can Help

Our SafeSchools Online Training System offers a suite of transportation-related courses. Staff can complete training on their own time, from any web-enabled device. Track group training as well with our Offline Training Tool!

We’ve partnered with the School Bus Safety Company (SBSC), the #1 provider of specialized school bus safety training, to deliver their expert-authored courses online through SafeSchools Training. Proven to reduce accidents by nearly 50%, these engaging courses include key practices that every bus driver should know to keep your students safe! Course categories include:

  • Bullying Prevention
  • Driver Training Course
  • Training for CDL Written Test
  • Transporting Students with Special Needs

SafeSchools Training customers may purchase the School Bus Safety Company courses as an optional Course Library add-on to their training system. Not a SafeSchools Training customer yet? Purchase just the SBSC courses, delivered through our award-winning online training system.

SafeSchools Alert Tip Reporting System

We also offer SafeSchools Alert, our online tip reporting system that allows students, staff, and parents to confidentially report safety concerns to your administration 24/7/365 via mobile app, text, phone, email, and website.

For more information on how SafeSchools can help your transportation staff improve student safety on the school bus, contact us at 1-800-434-0154 or info@safeschools.com.