Responding to terrorist attacks on school buses

Written By: LaJuan Bobo - February 2nd, 2018

Recently,  another terrorist attack occurred in Manhattan, New York, during which the suspect used a rental truck and ran over numerous bicyclists in the park.  The attack with his vehicle ended when he ran into the right rear quarter panel of a school bus which had students and some adults on board.  Two students and two staff members were injured in the attack and a number of them were initially trapped inside the bus from the extensive damage caused by the attacker’s vehicle.

The question of a terrorist attack towards a school bus has been one that has been asked thousands of times from school bus drivers across the country.  In this case, once the terrorist attacker rammed the school bus, he then fled in his own vehicle with two fake weapons in his hands and was eventually shot and taken into custody by NYPD officers.  The question still looms – what could the bus driver have done if there had been an attack on the bus.

What continues to happen is how many bus drivers across the country still don’t know what their rights are in a crisis situation, and when and where force may have to be used.  What level of force could have been used by this driver in the Manhattan school bus incident if the suspect had turned his attention towards the bus with an intent to do harm to those inside the bus.  The answer is he could have used equal or greater force to defend himself and the students and staff inside the bus.  Most school bus drivers haven’t received proper training in these high-level crisis events.

Realistic training offering have been developed for professionals all over the country on various violence-related issues.  One of the classes is titled “Defensible Use of Force on the Bus,” and is by far one of the most requested trainings provided to school bus drivers and staff around the country.  Focus is on situational awareness and recognizing potentially dangerous events.

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