We recently posted a blog about bullying and harassment on school buses and how to report what you see. This week we delve more into observing and reporting by bus drivers.
Several years ago, then Maine Gov. John Baldacci signed into law a bill that adds school bus drivers and attendants to a list of “mandated reporters” of child abuse. This came after there were clear signs that a 13-year-old girl was being abused by her adoptive mother. The young girl was later found in a shallow creek and her adoptive mother was charged with murder.
This list of mandated reporters is comprised of more than 30 types of professions, including doctors, nurses, dentists, teachers, child care workers, camp counselors, film processors, psychologists and law enforcement officials. School bus drivers in Maine will be required to complete a brief training session and report child abuse to the Department of Health and Human Services. Currently, more states are adding school bus drivers to this list.
Unlike teachers, school bus drivers may have some of the same students for many years and are in a perceptive position. Drivers frequently have verbal interaction with children and can have chances to observe the parent and child together. The environment is less structured than in a classroom giving drivers an opportunity to watch and communicate with the students. The drivers have a better opportunity to observe and report.