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Officials Look To Curb Bullying on School Buses

Bus drivers will receive additional training this year on how to identify and stop bullying incidents.

School district officials will stress the importance of eliminating bullying on school buses this year.

Bus drivers will receive additional training on how to identify and stop bullying incidents on the district’s fleet of 63 buses.

Mark DuBois and Mike Zaccone, the Police Department’s school resource officers, and Darryl Fennell, the school district’s executive manager of transportation, initiated the program after several middle school students verbally abusing Karen Klein, a 68-year-old school bus monitor, on a bus in upstate New York in June. The abusers’ profanity-laced insults were captured on video.

“We came to the conclusion that kids who are on buses, that is the first and last contact of the day with school that they have,” Zaccone said. “Their day could start bullying at 6:30 a.m. and end with bullying on the way home.”

Zaccone said that bullying used to be something that was confined to schools. When children went home, they no longer had to be concerned with being harassed by their schoolmates, he said.

“It is a 24-hour-a-day problem now,” Zaccone said.

Bus drivers will be shown the film “School Bus Security: A 21st Century Approach” and receive additional training on how to identify and prevent bullying on buses.

Drivers will immediately report incidents of harassment, intimidation, and bullying to a student’s principal.

Bullying has been a hot-button topic in the education community since Governor Christie into law in January 2011.

Drivers already attend student management classes and learn how to establish rules for appropriate behavior on buses.

“For some reason, kids and parents think that there is a different set of rules for behavior on buses than in the classrooms, but a bus is merely an extension of a classroom and the protocol should be the same,” Fennell said.

Fennell said officials plan on hosting assemblies to educate students about what constitutes proper behavior when riding on school buses.

“School bus drivers probably have the most important job in the district, in my opinion, because they are responsible for driving, making sure kids are safe, not getting into an accident, and now this,” Zaccone said.

— Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Daniel Hubbard at Daniel.Hubbard@patch.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Nose Wayne September 07, 2012 at 03:04 AM
Thank you Mark,Mike and Darryl. Bus drivers should only have to worry about getting our children safely to and from school everyday. You bully,you WALK !!!
fboy1932 September 08, 2012 at 02:46 AM
WOW! great investigation on old news and something that should have been handled the very 1st day Wayne introduced school busing for kids. And how many years have kids in Wayne been bused? what year did it begin? I'm so relieved now that are kids will be safe. WOW!

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