Amid all the talk of school violence in the news, it is not uncommon for a student to ask this question. You may only have a second or two to answer. With school gearing up to start in a matter of days, here are some tips on how to handle the question and the situation should it arise:
-Be prepared, not scared. Don’t be in denial. School violence can happen anywhere.
-Respect every student's concerns and treat them seriously. They do not see the world through your eyes.
-Look and listen before you talk. Make sure that you are addressing the student’s needs and not your own.
-Assure them they are as safe as can be. Make sure you know your safety procedures for all hazards and practice them if you can.
-Model good behavior, as you would want your students to do.
-Stay calm, cool and collected. Don’t yell or use excessive force if you need to restrain.
-Control your emotions. Show concern, but contain your fear and anger.
-Keep routines. They provide comfort and support.
-Stress the importance of safety procedures so that everyone is accounted for in a safe and orderly fashion.
-Let them know that they have a role to play in keeping their bus safe. Let them know about if you see something, say something. And let them know that if you say something that will keep everyone safe, it is not tattling on someone.
-Starting each day and greeting each student by name and with a smile goes a long way towards creating a safe and orderly bus driving experience.
-Tell them, “Together we make this bus ride as safe as it can be.”
Be ready for the question, “Am I safe on this school bus?”