I have been a bus driver since October 2006. I know the inside story, the scoop, the down low dirt of what it takes to be a bus driver, how to handle kids and adults, and how to survive on the "streets" so to speak. I have a blog, feel free to browse it or ask me a question here.
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Yes there is. Every bus driver, teacher, principal, and other employee in the school system is a Mandated Reporter. That means if we suspect or witness child abuse, we HAVE to report it by law. Each state is different in how to report child abuse, but where I work, if we suspect a child is being abused at home, we notify the supervisor at the bus shop and the school the child attends. It then sets into motion numerous meetings between the principal, counselors, and teachers involved and often will get the child out of the abuse situation. We take abuse cases very seriously and it is sometimes very hard to prove that there is any abuse going on because many people will not abuse the child in front of us. We document everything we notice such as signs of physical abuse or neglect, and various behavior patterns. Often, if a parent is habitually not home when we drop off a young child, we will report it and take the child over to the police station because the child is lacking in supervision at home.
That’s a tough question to answer. Ideally if you have a monitor on the bus, the monitor should not be a distraction and you should be able to work side by side with the monitor. Have you tried speaking with the monitor directly? Maybe she/he doesn’t know that what they are doing is bothering you. If you feel you cannot speak to the person directly, ask your boss for a mediation session where he/she can have the both of you in the office and you two can hash out your differences. It may be that the boss may decide to move the monitor to a different bus, and give you a new monitor for yours. Personally, I prefer to drive a bus by myself because its easier to handle all behavior problems because I can be consistent in my discipline methods. If I write a student up for behavior and my monitor doesn’t for the same behavior, it sends mixed messages to the student on how to behave. I hope you find a resolution soon!
This was a very hard video to watch, and in fact, I could not watch it all the way through. I address this issue on my blog. However to answer your question - Kids are mean. They do not think before they speak and often will torment others just because they can. I've been bullied by the kids before because of my size, and I don't let it bother me, and turn in those that are bullying. Unfortunately the consequences for the students who bully are not severe enough to STOP the bullying. Too many excuses for poor behavior.
In my county, yes, we are responsible for cleaning our buses inside and out. Mainly we sweep the floors and we can rinse out the inside with soap and water with a hose. The outside of the bus gets washed by a large "bus wash" - a car wash for buses. We are supposed to sweep out the buses at least once a day, but some drivers will make it a weekly thing. Many drivers will ban the kids from eating or drinking on the bus to minimize the accumulation of trash on the bus and to prevent spills from liquids. Its easy to sweep a bus clear of all dirt (which is inevitable with kids on the bus), but it is harder to clean it if it is all sticky and dirty. I don't know how other bus shops run their buses.
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That's a good question - I'm not really sure how it works in other states and each individual school district has their own policies on what is considered inclement weather, but our district rarely closes for inclement weather. The one time we did, since I've been there, I think it was a combination of the transportation department and the school board deciding what was safest for the students. We had experienced some torrential rain which washed out a lot of our roads and caused some very unsafe conditions for students, so the school was closed because of the road conditions caused by the rain.
Good question. The fact of the matter is, "short buses" as you put them have special factory options installed. Often seatbelts, wheelchair tie downs, and wheelchair lifts. We have to make sure that all students, regardless of disability, have an equal opportunity to attend school. I don't know the reason why these buses are often shorter than regular education buses, however, I have a theory. Alot of times, these buses have to be small enough to be able to enter a persons driveway in order to pick up a student in need. A larger regular education bus is not designed for tight turns and pick up door to door. Students have to meet us at the street/central location to board the buses in those cases. Often special education buses have a driver and an aide on the bus to handle any problem that may come up, such as a student having a seizure or an autistic child having issues with noise. These buses are also often quieter than regular education buses which help a student who is autistic as they usually cannot handle loud noise like everyone else. Hope this helps.
The emergency doors in the back of the bus (or on the side of the bus in some models) are simply opened by a red lever in the back of the bus. Any child can do it in the case of an emergency. The door is not locked. The door can be locked, however when securing your bus for the evening after you have completed your route. The newer models of buses have a simple slide latch and the latch communicates with the ignition system of the bus. If the latch is locked, the bus will not start. It ensures that the door always stays unlocked so that students can get out in the case of an emergency.
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