Bus incident leads to special training

Published 10:43 pm Friday, September 19, 2014

Suffolk Public Schools has developed a special set of classes for bus drivers following an incident last year in which a bus monitor yelled and used physical coercion to try to get a disabled student to sit down.

On Oct. 2, the unidentified adult — described in the Special Education Advisory Committee 2013-2014 Annual Report only as a bus monitor on a special education bus — “tried to get a student with disabilities to sit in the seat, inappropriately yelling, and physically coercing the student into the seat,” according to district spokeswoman Bethanne Bradshaw.

The bus monitor did not work after Oct. 2 while the incident was under investigation. The School Board terminated employment on Oct. 11.


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“The behavior (of the student) was a manifestation of the child’s disability,” Bradshaw stated.

The district’s special education department developed a training session for all bus drivers and assistants “to help them better understand the various disabilities of the children they transport.”

Titled “Driving with Heart: The Human Side of School Transportation,” the workshop was held Nov. 15, a parent-teacher conference day when students were not in school.

“The workshop had three hour-long sessions that all drivers and assistants attended,” according to Bradshaw.

“Led by our special education staff, sessions explained how to build positive relationships and successfully manage the behavior of students riding these buses, and also shared information and strategies for making drivers’ daily travels more manageable and enjoyable.”

Information presented in the session is reviewed with new drivers and assistants before they begin transporting students, she stated, and “an in-depth refresher course” was given to special education drivers and assistants during pre-service training last month.