Bullying on the bus is an inevitable part of growing up. Luckily if we are aware of bullying than it will be easier to handle the issue.
We are aware that a lot of bullying happens on the school bus. It is probably because the students only have one adult supervisor, and he or she should be mainly focused on the road. There is also a large age range of children that ride the bus. This means there is a power imbalance between the little guys vs the older students.
A lot of children ride the bus on the way to school. If they are bullied on the way, then it is likely to impact the rest of their afternoon. Their negative behavior could disturb the climate of the classroom. Making it hard to focus and learn.
So, what can bus drivers and administrators do to prevent bullying from happening on the way to and from school?
First, train and strengthen bus drivers.
Because the driver is usually the only adult on board, it is important that the driver is aware of the responsibility on his or her shoulders. The driver needs to be aware of the channels to go through to report bullying. The U.S. Department of Education’s Safe and Supportive Schools Technical Assistance Center and the National Association for Pupil Transportation provide free online materials to train bus drivers in how to recognize and address bullying on the bus.
Second, installing video cameras is an important step.
Cameras can both deter bullying behavior and provide details of incidents when they do occur. The students should be made aware that there are cameras on the bus and that the resolution is excellent and that sound is also recorded.
Third, communicate your behavioral expectations with the students and the parents.
Send a letter to parents that reviews school bus policies and rules.
We all agree bullying is unacceptable: on the bus, at school, or anywhere in the community. By recognizing the signs of bullying, knowing how to react to it, and getting involved to prevent bullying, both parents and students can make the school bus the first step toward a bully-free learning environment.