Although frightening to think about, violent incidents on the school bus are a reality. Potential incidents could include an active assailant, but it is not very likely. What is more likely to occur is a disgruntled parent or an angry student boarding a bus. Training to deal with these incidents does not have to be costly or time-consuming, and can possibly save lives. Here are a few tips that can help in the planning:
- Enlist support by partnering with the Transportation Security Administration. The TSA can organize a demonstration using bus company and district personnel as “players” in various threatening scenarios. TSA reps will direct scenarios and ask questions of the players as to what they think drivers, mechanics, district personnel and emergency responders might do to mitigate the threat.
- Emphasize preparation. Fire, police, and EMS need to know how school bus operations run so they can respond accordingly. Develop techniques and keep the first responders in the loop.
- Alleviate fears. You can’t just think it won’t happen to us. What school districts deal with is an unknown reality that hopefully will never happen. But all the same, it’s a reality they must embrace. Not knowing is the hard part – being prepared is the easy part. By preparing and educating students and school personnel, you can alleviate fear of the unknown and how to respond to it.
- Donate buses. Old buses are great for using to educate student and school personnel on what to do if an incident were to occur. Police officers can do whatever needed to secure students; cut into the side of the bus, break windows to get to students, and break the lock on back doors to be able to enter.
All of these tips can make “practicing” incidents easier and more informative for all involved.