BATON ROUGE (FOX44) — Parents, teachers, and students across the country are working to stop bullying in school and online. But one area that’s often overlooked is the school bus.
FOX44 spoke with a company that drives buses for many Baton Rouge area schools, to find out what they’re doing to detect and stop bullying.
While students are traveling home, bus drivers like Fabian Adams are making sure it's a smooth and comfortable ride.
“They're our precious cargo and we constantly have vision to look at them,” Adams told FOX44.
Adams has a bird's eye view on her precious cargo watching everyone, especially children who are the targets of bullies.
Another bus driver, Brenda Jackson says she's always on the lookout, because she's seen bullying first-hand.
“Kids will pick on other kids and make them cry and cause fights; I saw a lot of that,” Jackson explained.
Bullying has been a problem for decades, but new data suggests that children who are bullied are nine times more likely to commit suicide.
That's why officials with the First Student bus company take bullying seriously.
Greg Gavins, a senior staff member at First Student, says the company has the motto “if you see something say something.”
And that motto flows from student, to teacher, to bus driver.
Gavins said the company trains its drivers to deal with conflict resolution.
First, the drivers talk to the students suspected of bullying.
Brenda Jackson said she would “report it to the schools and let them know what was going on.”
If the bus driver doesn’t think the bullying is going to stop the write up a report and give it to school officials.
The ultimate goal is to prevent it all together.
Fabian Adams says it all starts with order, “I think a bus driver controls her bus I think if you have a good rapport with your children and you got good communication then it's not as much.”
It's not a free for all on the bus, students need to know their places.
“We recommend that our drivers have seating charts, some buses have
boys on one side girls on the other, from high school all the way down to pre-k,” Greg Gavins explained.
Security on First Student’s buses is serious.
They’re equipped with three state-of-the-art cameras and an audio recorder and Brenda Jackson says students are fully aware, “the kids are very aware that we have it, audio/video the kids are not
going to do too much on the school bus but they are made aware of it, so anything they say or do will be reported.”
Drivers like Brenda Jackson and Fabian Adams keep their eyes open, watching for any red flags.
Adams told us the early signs of bullying are: “aggression, repetitive misbehavior towards other students. It’s just signs like that, that let you know if a child is having a problem or if he's going to bully other students.”
Gavins reiterated to us that his company takes bullying very seriously, “it’s something we all have to look out for.”
So with a strict set of rules and a keen set of eyes, bus drivers are doing their part to make sure your kid's bus ride is safe. So they'll be ready to get picked up again, tomorrow morning.
Bus drivers for First Student are constantly getting new training to make sure they're 'ready' for anything.
The ultimate goal for any bus driver is your child's safety.