School buses are considered “soft targets” vulnerable to armed adults and students bent on destruction. Only the bus driver stands between the perpetrator and the students. There have been many cases of hijacking, kidnapping, shootings and muggings occurring on and around school buses.
School districts have begun providing critical training to bus drivers to avoid getting into these situations. They are also being trained to initiate options when confronted by an active shooter, where there appeared to be no options. The training includes recognizing situations that do not appear right, preventing unauthorized persons from entering the bus, de-escalation (slowing down the intensity of the situation), using tactical driving maneuvers to keep active shooters off balance before subduing them and disarming them as a last resort.
This training is being provided by law enforcement professionals and by companies that specialize in active shooter training. Most companies and associations that provide active shooter and de-escalation training agree that the best method is prevention. School officials are using the training classes as a proactive way of dealing with a situation they hope never happens.
Next week we will look at what this training consists of and how bus drivers are reacting to it.