As we’ve all seen in the media over the past couple of years, in-school bullying among students nationwide is on the rise; not surprisingly, this includes bullying on the school bus. Fortunately, we at the Southwest Transportation Agency have NOT, to date, experienced anything that would be cause for alarm. However, we want to be certain that nothing of the kind does surface. The safe transportation to and from school of those who ride our school bus is our very top priority.
To ensure that we do NOT experience such problems, as you may recall from last year, we have designed a special program, called, “School Bus Discipline: A Positive Approach.” This anti-bullying program, called NoBullyBus, goes into full swing beginning the 2011-12 academic year. We are doing this in partnership with the schools that use our professional services for busing their students.
The intent of the present memorandum to parents is to inform you of this program, explain how it works, and to ask for your full cooperation…in order to make certain that all of our children who ride a Southwest Transportation school bus have full protection afforded through this program.
There are three (3) critical elements to this program. While a brief, one-page description of this program accompanies the present memorandum, you can find a comprehensive description of the program, along with the documents you will need to help implement the program, on the Internet at www.nobullybus.org. If your family does NOT have access to a computer at home, upon request, we will happily send you a packet in either English or Spanish; or, you may use one of the computers at your child’s school to access www.nobullybus.org, where you can review and fill out all of the materials relating to this NoBullyBus program. Should you forget the web address, just write it down when you drop your child off at the bus stop or while picking your child up; you will see our web address displayed on the back of the bus.
The three critical elements of the NoBullyBus program are:
R eporting an Incident: Should an incident occur, your child or you will be able to immediately report it to Southwest Transportation by visiting www.nobullybus.org on the Internet; or, as noted above, if your family does NOT have access to a computer at home, your child (or you) can submit an incident report by using any one of the computers at their school and clicking on the icon and filling out an incident report form on-line. Your child can chose to identify himself/herself or to remain anonymous.
Bully Prevention Survey: This is same survey that you and your child completed last year. Last year’s survey provided Southwest Transportation with benchmark data needed for identifying and monitoring changes in the level and nature of bullying on the bus and in the classroom, over time. With this year’s data, we will be able to identify instructive and useful trends that will ensure the maximum possible safety for your child or children, while riding their school bus. Please go
on-line at www.nobullybus.org and click on the link marked SURVEY to complete this questionnaire, if possible, with your child. As you did last year, base you responses to the questions upon your child’s experience during the last school year. Do NOT print your child’s name, nor your name on the form; this is intended to be a completely anonymous survey. Here again, if you would prefer to fill out a hard copy of the survey, please contact us by phone, at (559) 644-1000, and we will happily send you a hard copy in either English or Spanish.
Standards of Conduct for School Bus Transportation: Also accompanying this memorandum is the Standards of Conduct for School Bus Transportation. Parents, please read this memorandum with your child/children prior to their first day on the school bus; it is your responsibility to ensure your children fully understand the rules and what will be expected of them as school bus riders.
Southwest Bus drivers are undergoing intense training to learn how to interact with students in a fashion that will ward off bullying behavior, wherever possible; and deal with such behavior in a positive and constructive fashion when it does occur. School bus drivers will also use the www.nobullybus.org to report a bullying incident on his or her route.
Should a serious incident take place on a Southwest bus, as in the past, the incident will be handled in a timely and appropriate fashion.
After reading the present memorandum and reviewing the one-page flyer (enclosed) which explains the NoBullyBus program, should you or your child have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call our offices. Ask for Mr. Dwight Cruz or Mr. Tony Mendes.
Of course, if you wish to talk with me at any point in time, you are always welcome to call me, directly, at Southwest Transportation Agency Center.
Chief Executive Officer