Almost 10 percent of bullying related to schools occurs on school buses, yet many drivers don't feel equipped to handle bullying incidents on their buses. Training materials developed by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Safe and Healthy Students provide guidance on how bus drivers can effectively respond to and prevent bullying.
Published in June 2011, the materials help bus drivers create a safe and respectful environment on our nation's school buses. The state-of-the-art information, which includes a palm card for drivers as an easy reference tool for actions to take, provides ways to intervene in bullying behavior, de-escalate threatening behavior, and build a supportive bus climate to prevent bullying.
Research from the National Center for Education, Evaluation and Regional Assistance indicates that, while 52.2 percent of the nation's roughly 550,000 bus drivers believe that bullying is a serious problem on their school buses, two-thirds of the incidents go unreported. Research also shows that the older the students are, the less likely they are to report such incidents.
Many states, such as Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Maryland, Iowa and Arkansas, have used the training materials and are seeing positive results, according to the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT). NAPT's goal is that all bus drivers will be trained in how to prevent bullying on their school buses. To access the free materials, visit http://safesupportiveschools.ed.gov.