Courtesy of:  By Sara Catalinotto @ Workers.org

A “Rally to Save Busing” was well received by lunch hour crowds in downtown Brooklyn on April 19. The citywide group Parents to Improve School Transportation (PIST NYC) chose the site where the Department of Education — controlled by billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg — has its contracts office.

Flyers for the event charged authorities with disregarding the needs of school bus riders before, during and since the strike by Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181 this winter. Some 8,800 drivers and attendants struck for a month when contract bids went out without an Employee Protection Provision that would maintain seniority hiring.

At the rally, busing advocates gave out copies of their School Bus Bill of Rights proposal, along with copies of an April 12 New York Daily News column by Juan Gonzalez that exposed how the city’s own lawyers are now arguing in court that EPP is not illegal. This implies that the mayor knowingly lied when he insisted that the union wanted something illegal in the school bus bids.

While some parents took to the microphone, others gathered contact information from interested passersby and shop owners or spoke to reporters. The event was also recorded for the upcoming film “1181: A Documentary.”

Brooklyn’s P368 Parent Association President Celia Green, mother of four current or former bus riders, denounced the school system’s failure to conduct mandated bus evacuation drills. Her schools suffered extremely low attendance during the strike that Bloomberg provoked.

Bronx PIST leader Milagros Cancel, whose three sons depend on busing for their education, spoke in Spanish about the need to organize against violations of the civil rights of students with disabilities, including violations of their right to adequate transportation.

Other protesters included grandparents, a retired teacher with the Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE) Caucus of the United Federation of Teachers, and a 10-year-old mini-wagon rider.

Joining them was a Brooklyn school bus driver with over 20 years’ experience whose company gave her job to a strikebreaker. She is one of 76 workers who are still locked out two months after the strike ended.

ATU Local 1181 has taken up the lockouts with the National Labor Relations Board and has another NLRB case against the school bus contractors’ recent unilateral imposition of lowered wages, benefits and hours. Drivers and attendants had their spring break checks withheld; beginning April 15, paychecks were expected to be 7.5 percent lower than before.


As Manhattan mom Madeline Sinor said on News 12 TV, “They are cutting, to the
bone, the wages of trained, excellent workers who are so important.” The union
is pressing for good faith negotiations. DOE has not commented on these
developments, although it is the ultimate contractor.


The message of the rally was that school bus families plan to fight to
prevent such a vital service for students from being downgraded to a part-time,
high-turnover, poverty-level job. For more information, contact
pistnyc@gmail.com or 347-504-3310.



Article Online:  http://www.workers.org/2013/04/28/parents-campaign-for-school-bus-bill-of-rights/
 
 
Courtesy of:  Erin Kourkounis @ PNJ.com

A group of Santa Rosa school bus drivers is expected to bring concerns about bus safety and working conditions at Durham School Services to the Santa Rosa School Board Thursday.

During the board’s meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, members will decide whether to grant Durham a five-year contract to operate district transportation. 

In a forum organized by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters union last week in Bagdad, Durham drivers in Milton, Pace and Navarre aired their concerns about workplace safety. 

Their concerns ranged from fluid leaks to mold on buses and drivers going to work sick because they cannot afford to take time off. Some drivers say they are yelled at or ignored by supervisors when they bring up concerns. 

About 210 Santa Rosa school bus drivers and monitors work for Durham, the second-largest school bus company in the country and a subsidiary of National Express Group PLC, a multinational transportation company based in the United Kingdom.

Article Online: 
http://www.pnj.com/article/20130424/NEWS01/130424017/Santa-Rosa-school-bus-drivers-bring-concerns-School-Board
 
 
Courtesy of:  WPXI.com

CENTER TOWNSHIP, Pa. — 
 
A girl, 15, claims she was assaulted and had her pants pulled down Monday by boys on her school bus.

Channel 11's Amy Marcinkiewicz reported that the victim attends Central Valley High School and is scared to go to school, and until the bullying stops, her mother said she’d not sending her daughter back.

According to the victim’s mother, one boy on the bus grabbed her daughter and pulled her pants down while another boy recorded the assault on his cell phone.

The victim told Channel 11 that this was not the first time the boys assaulted her.

The girl’s mother told Marcinkiewicz that the school district previously promised that the boys would not be back on the bus. Now, she wants answers, and is concerned about what could happen next if action is not taken.

Article/Video online:  http://www.wpxi.com/news/news/local/hs-student-says-boys-assaulted-her-while-school-bu/nXWxw/
 
 
Courtesy of:  Roger Weeder of First Coast News

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Robert and Ruth Monigold are frustrated after seeing cell phone video of their 13 year-old daughter attacked in a First Student bus on her way home from school.

"There is no way the bus driver could not have heard anything or seen anything," said the dad from his Northside home commenting on the April 3 incident.

Police say the teen was the victim of an unprovoked attack and was hit at least 10 times. She missed a week of school according to her parents after suffering injuries to her eye socket.

Ruth Monigold said what is of more concern is the response they got from their daughter's school, Eugene Butler Middle School.

"The school told me they could not guarantee the security of my daughter," said the mother, who enrolled her daughter in another middle school.

The family did press charges against the teen accused of tossing the punches. She faces battery charges.

"Do they have to kill a kid on a bus before they actually do something about it?" said the teen's mother who said her daughter is paranoid about going out.  A spokesperson for Duval County Public Schools was not aware of the incident. 
 
Update: Timothy Stokes, spokesperson for First Student Inc., gave First Coast News the following statement:

"First Student was made aware of the April 3 incident involving students during their afternoon departure by representatives from the school district. Immediately, an investigation was conducted, where it was determined the driver was unaware of the incident that occurred while at a bus stop. 

"The safety and security of the students we transport to and from school is our top priority and something we take very seriously. Our drivers are highly trained to provide students with a safe form of transportation daily. If an instance of aggressive behavior occurs on one of our buses, our drivers are trained to secure the bus in a safe location and radio dispatch for assistance. Dispatch then notifies the proper authorities, whether that is local law enforcement or school officials, to respond. Following this incident, the driver has gone through additional training to ensure that an incident like this does not go unnoticed again."

Full Article and Video: 
http://www.firstcoastnews.com/topstories/article/310600/483/School-bus-attack-has-parents-wanting-answers-
 
 
Courtesy of:  Sasha Goldstein @ New York Daily News

Angel Green hanged herself and left a note to her mother that said, ‘It’s bullying that killed me. Please get justice.’

A mother takes action...

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/indiana-girl-suicide-heartbreaking-note-spark-anti-bullying-legislation-article-1.1308060#ixzz2Q1voiroi
 
 
Published on Mar 29,  2013
Courtesy of ABC

 
A St. Lucie County school bus aide is behind bars after she was caught on camera harassing a 5-year-old boy with disabilities, driving him to tears.

Online Video of actual school bus tape:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kzKWK8G_tQ

 
 
Courtesy of:  Jason Riley -The Courier-Journal

The mother of a former Watterson Elementary School second-grader has sued  the school’s principal and the Jefferson County Board of Education, alleging the boy was sexually assaulted on his school bus.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Jefferson Circuit Court, claims  several disciplinary problems on the child’s bus  were  reported
during the 2010-11 school year by the driver to school officials, including principal Vickie Talbott, but no action was taken.

In May 2011, in addition to being bullied and harassed, the child was “sexually assaulted” by another student on the bus ride
home, according to the suit.

“The most egregious thing to me about the case is the fact this bus driver begged for help with problems on this bus,” said attorney Wendi Wagner, who, along with John P. Nelson II, represents the mother. “And it appears to me that nothing was ever done.”

Because of the  experience, the suit says, the child withdrew from Jefferson County schools and has incurred health care and
psychiatric expenses. Claims made in filing a suit present only one side of the case.

Ben Jackey, a spokesman for Jefferson County Public Schools, said he could not comment on pending litigation.

Last year, attorney Ted Gordon filed  lawsuits claiming JCPS  staff and teachers failed to stop bullying and sexual assault.
Those cases are pending.

Article Online: 
http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20130329/NEWS0105/303290081/1001/Lawsuit-claims-second-grader-sexually-assaulted-school-bus


 
 
Courtesy of:  Blayne Alexander @ 11 Alive

ATLANTA -- Some Atlanta Public School parents are calling for tougher security aboard district buses. They spoke out three days after a Sutton Middle School student brought a BB gun aboard a bus and shot two students.

"That hit too close to home," said LaToya McIntosh. "My daughter was on that bus."

RELATED: Girl shot with BB gun aboard APS school bus

McIntosh and Tiffani Craft put their daughters on the bus to Sutton Middle School five days a week. Their girls say it's nothing new for their classmates to bring dangerous or banned items aboard the bus.

"It's very easy," said Craft's eighth-grade daughter, D'Auria . "They even hide stuff on the bus, sometimes there's rips in seats that they can hide stuff in, and when they get back on the bus, it'll be there."

Craft and McIntosh say they are scared to put their daughters back on the bus. They believe the bus a gray zone: an area they feel is ignored when officials consider school safety.

"I think maybe they should implement some sort of bus monitor," Craft said. "They can't put all the responsibility on the bus driver."

"They have metal detectors in the schools to make sure the students are safe," McIntosh added. "And since the school bus would be an extension of the schools, I feel they should probably do the same thing."

Atlanta Public Schools spokesman Steve Alford said the district is constantly considering new safety measures on buses and in schools. While bus monitors and metal detector wands have all come under consideration, Alford said it's also a question of practicality.

"If we have someone on the bus patting down students, how much time does that add to the school day and to the bus ride?" Alford said. "Does that mean that every parent will have to put their child out at the bus stop 30 minutes earlier than they are now?

Craft and McIntosh say absolutely, if that's what it will take to keep their kids safe.

"What's 30 extra minutes as opposed to attending your child's premature funeral?" Craft said.

Both parents and district officials agree that APS must address the root cause behind these problems: why are children bringing weapons to school in the first place?

The eighth grade student who brought the BB gun has been suspended from school. According to Atlanta Police, he will be charged with aggravated assault.

Article & Video Online:
http://www.11alive.com/news/article/284892/3/Parents-want-more-security-for-Atlanta-Public-School-buses
 
 
The National School Bus Loading and Unloading Survey is out - as of January 2013 - for the 2011 - 2012 School Year.

For the 3rd consecutive year, GEORGIA leads the nation in child
fatalities at the School Bus Stop (The Loading/Unloading Zone).


While efforts are being made in Georgia to influence the public to respect School Bus flashing STOP lights/signs, what is being done by State Leaders to implement oversight programs in each local school system?  For example, WHY are children forced to cross 2 or more lanes of traffic to catch their school bus?  WHY does the Georgia Department of Education NOT track non-fatality accidents related to School Bus incidents? 

This data MAY provide empirical data which would enable leaders to identify trends impacting safety.  It may also assist leaders of pupil transportation in the development of state-wide programs that could minimize or even PREVENT future child injuries and/or fatalities.

In addition, there does not appear to be a consistent state-mandated School Bus Maintenance monitoring policy which holds local school system transportation directors/managers to report maintenance records on a monthly or even a quarterly basis.

We Georgians worry about voting FOR or AGAINST Charter Schools and rely on external agencies to audit financial or moral ethics of our School Boards.  When will we begin to focus on the lack of systematic processes our elected officials have in place to govern the safety of School Bus transportation?  Why would ANY local school system allow the leader of school bus operations - who does not possess the licensure requirements (i.e., CDL) of that required of a School Bus Driver - to run a pupil transportation department?

When was your child's School Bus last inspected?
What qualifications does your local school system director/manager of pupil transportation have?
Has your school bus driver received the required, state-mandated training (i.e., Abuse Mandatory Reporter, Air-brake, etc.)?
Are you certain proper bus maintenance is being performed to ensure your child's safety?
Does your local school system have a "No Bullying" program? (Bullying frequently occurs on the school bus)

Your tax dollars are being spent on the above and you - YES YOU - have the right to know.

The National School Bus Loading and Unloading Survey can be found by clicking on the link below:  (2011 link)

http://www.ksde.org/Default.aspx?tabid=346
 
 
Courtesy of:  Kristen Gosling

By Jackee Coe, The Republic | azcentral.com

Two Apache Junction High School students were disciplined after school
officials investigated allegations they had bullied a junior high student on a
school bus, officials said.

A Cactus Canyon Junior High student reported to the school's assistant
principal on the morning of March 6 that two high school students previously had
burned him while riding on a school bus to the Apache Junction Boys and Girls
Club, Apache Junction Unified School District spokesman Brian Killgore said. 

The principal investigated the incident and by the afternoon had identified
the two high school students who allegedly used lighters to heat up erasers and
then touch the 13-year-old student on the arms and neck, he said. They were
reported to the Apache Junction Police Department.

One student was disciplined on March 7 and the other was disciplined on March
8 because he didn't attend school the day before, Killgore said. He declined to
say what the discipline was, citing the federal Family Educational Rights and
Privacy Act.

The victim told The Republic Wednesday that the incidents started in February
and continued for several weeks. He said he was scared to report it because the
high school students threatened to beat him up if he did. The Republic does not
name victims of crime.

The boy's mother, who The Republic is also not naming, said they could tell
something was happening because his behavior changed "drastically" as he began
lashing out at his parents and sister and disrespecting everyone. After several
days of trying to get him to tell them what was wrong, he finally told them
about the bullying on the school bus.

The boy had scars on his arm and the back of his neck from where he said the
high school students burned him with the erasers. He also had a bruise on his
left cheek from where he said he was punched multiple times by an 8th-grade
student who jumped him Monday at the bus stop in retaliation for reporting the
other students.

"As a mother, I'm heartbroken, I'm sad. I'm so angry that something like this
could happen to my child," she said. "And if it happened to him, how many other
children in that school or that school district is it happening to also that
haven't come forward or are too scared to come forward?"

The boy's parents reported the burning incidents to the Apache Junction
Police Department on March 5, who conducted an investigation and submitted the
case to the Pinal County Attorney's Office's juvenile division, Interim Police
Chief Thomas Kelly said. The attorney's office will determine whether to file
charges against the juveniles.

Another police report shows the boy was assaulted Monday at a bus stop by
another 13-year-old student, but investigators were unable to find a connection
to the previous incidents, Kelly said. The teen, who punched the boy in the
face, was arrested and the Police Department submitted an assault charge to the
county attorney's office.

The mother said bullying has "gotten out of
control," and all adults - whether parents, school officials, bus drivers,
neighbors or just passersby - need to stand up against bullying.

"No parent wants their child to be harmed and it's hard enough for us to try
and look out for them from the predators and other incidents that can happen on
the streets nowadays," she said. "Now we have to watch for other juveniles to
harm our children physically and emotionally? It just has to stop. The bullying
has to stop."

Article Online:  http://www.ksdk.com/news/article/370873/28/Bullies-burn-child-on-school-bus