If you ask a number of Tri-State bus drivers why they do their job they’ll probably mention the responsibility.
“The most precious cargo on earth, the next generation that we carry everyday,”says the Transportation Director for Daviess County Public Schools Downey Ward.
Tri-State bus drivers and monitors are going through trauma training.
“And recognizing if something is wrong like a seizure or the first aid or even the nose bleed,” says Arlinda Matthingly who is a school bus driver and trainer with Daviess County School Corporation.
The mandatory training has been underway for some time, but this year there’s something new. The Love and Logic program falls under the people behavior management curriculum.
“We don’t ask the question what in the world is wrong with you. We ask what happened to you. And because we know that something may be going on we treat you differently. And we treat you with caring loving clothes but that doesn’t mean their aren’t consequences for behavior,” says Leslie Peveler the Highland Elementary School Principal.
“In the child job description it says find your last nerve and dance on it. That is what children do. You have to learn to cope. You have to develop coping mechanisms to deal with that and to connect with them,” says Ward.
Some drivers transport up to 65 students at a time.
“Very stressful because you are not only dealing with what’s behind you, you’re dealing with everything that is around you,” says Mattingly.
Indiana has added new laws for drivers after three siblings died in a car crash at a school bus stop.
“We like to say anything in our handbook if there is a rule in there it is written in blood there is a reason why its in there. If it prohibits something there is a reason why that is,” says Ward.
And that’s especially true for school bus drivers, but all drivers can never be too safe.
“You can’t anticipate every situation, but if you are mentally and physically prepared everyday to do your best and you are aware of what is going on you’re better prepared to meet whatever challenges that you are going to run into on the road,” says Ward.
Under Indiana’s new school bus laws drivers who ignore a stop arm could have their license suspended for up to three months.