Kids can be mean to one another, but you don’t need a school bus services company to tell you that. You were a kid yourself once, and chances are you witnessed bullying or even were a victim of it personally.
If you were bullied, you probably still remember those incidents today, which is perhaps a testament to how jarring they were and how deeply they affected you in the moment. While there are plenty of differences between kids today and kids of your generation, bullying remains a real problem. Just as it could back then, bullying can have lasting effects on a child’s psyche, shaping everything from their performance at school to their mental health years down the road.
As a school bus contractor, we’ve talked ad nauseum on our group transportation services blog about how student transportation services play an integral role in student success. Part of that is by creating a relaxing environment in which children can ready themselves for the long day ahead, and a bullying situation is the exact opposite of relaxing. And again, the draining and degrading effects of bullying cannot be understated. Neither of those are conducive whatsoever to student success, in any sense of the word.
That’s why we at American Student Transportation Services view it as part of our mission to nip bullying situations in the bud. We strive to provide only the highest quality student transportation services, and to us that’s not just about punctuality. It’s about creating a welcoming, joyous vibe on our buses, a vibe that promotes unity and wellbeing so that the future generation has the safe haven it needs to excel. Abusive behavior has no place in our vehicles!
How Can I Spot Bullying on My Bus?
If you’re a school bus driver learning how to spot and deal with bullying situations, take it from the pros at American Student Transportation Services: It isn’t as easy as it looks. With the ever-growing popularity of social media and smartphones, kids can easily go after one another in private. Plus, it’s impossible for a driver to watch every single kid in their care and keep their eyes on the road.
However, there still remain quite a few indications that you’ve got a bullying situation on your bus. They’re just a little more subtle than you might think!
● A child who looks unhappy.
Of course, a kid can appear less than their best for any number of reasons – problems at home, a stressful school schedule, you name it. In any case, it pays to ask if that child is doing alright on their way out the door. Even if they cringe or choose not to respond, at least, on some level, they’ll know someone cares enough to notice their distress.
Bullying, especially the prolonged type, can make a child feel quite invisible to adults, whom they depend on for protection and support.
● A child shifting seats frequently.
This could be a sign that they’re being pestered. On the other hand, they might just get on the bus last and have to take what’s available. Again, it’s not a hard-and-fast indication that something is amiss, but it’s something to keep an eye on.
● A child that’s singled out from a group.
When bullying begins within a friend group, it’s often hard for the kid to spot until it gets bad enough that they ostracize themselves. As with the other signs, though, this isn’t a surefire clue, as childhood friends can grow apart from one another for completely unrelated reasons.
What Can I Do If a Child Is Being Bullied?
Every provider of school bus services has their own procedure for dealing with bullying situations, to various degrees of effectiveness. In any case, take charge and don’t hesitate to take action.
● Immediately pull over if the fighting is physical. While this is generally rare, it’s a situation that requires quick and decisive action. Allowing the fight to play itself out is an act of gross irresponsibility.
● Don’t hesitate to notify the authorities. Even in the case that you’re unsure if something is truly going on, further investigation by school workers never hurts. Plus, the ultimate resolution of the potential bullying case will set your mind at ease, making for an easier workday.
● Continue to maintain a personal relationship with passengers. Yes, even the ones you believe to be instigating the problems. Being an active presence on your bus makes your charges feel as though they’ll be held accountable for their actions, which can help reduce future incidents.
Call Us for Attentive, Student-Focused School Bus Services
Give your students the safe, bullying-free bus ride they deserve – one that sets them up for success. Contact our Blaine office today at 651-621-8900.