On March 22, 2016, there were horrific terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium. The bombings at the international airport and a subway station underscore the fact that public transportation is a common target for terrorists and others with malicious motives.
Just three years ago in Alabama, school bus driver Charles Poland was killed by an armed intruder who boarded his bus and took a 5-year-old boy holding him hostage in an underground bunker. The standoff dragged on for nearly a week before FBI agents stormed the bunker, killing the intruder and rescuing the boy.
Since this happened, school bus security measures have been stepped up in a number of ways in Alabama. The state’s passage of the Charles “Chuck” Poland, Jr. Act made it a Class A misdemeanor to trespass on a school bus. The maximum fine for the offense was raised from $2,000 to $6,000, and violators can also be sentenced to one year in jail.
Many school districts are working with law enforcement agencies to bolster security training and find new ways of keeping our children safe. We should always be assessing the security of operations, looking for vulnerabilities, and taking proactive steps to safeguard passengers and staff. The above incidents show that security breaches can happen anywhere in the world!