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Bullying Prevention: Creating safe spaces for students through alternative student transportation

Bullying Prevention: Creating safe spaces for students through alternative student transportation

October 2, 2023

National Bullying Prevention Month raises awareness about bullying and the importance of creating safe learning environments. This includes safe student transportation.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), one out of every five students (20.2%) reported being bullied.  Five percent of those students reported that they were physically bullied. Bullying can lead to injuries, affect a child’s academic performance, and impact their mental health. Victims are also more likely to experience depression and anxiety.

Bullying can happen anywhere

Research shows that school hallways and stairwells are the most common places for students to encounter bullies. However, bullying doesn’t just happen in school buildings or classrooms. It can happen anywhere – online, at home, and even on the bus.

Eight percent of bullied students reported being victims of school bus bullying. The lack of adult supervision during bus rides makes it easy for bullies to pick on their victims. As the bus driver is focused on driving, they cannot simultaneously monitor the students or intervene if a child is getting bullied. Unfortunately, this creates a stressful environment for victims, as they are unable to defend themselves or escape during the journey.

3 ways to protect vulnerable students

Here are three ways we can help:

  • Identify early signsBullying that happens on the way to or from school can be challenging to detect, so adults must look out for signs of bullying. These signs can include students becoming unexpectedly quiet, withdrawn, emotional, or reluctant to ride the bus.Special needs students being bullied on the bus may face difficulties communicating this to their guardians or educators. Thus, caregivers must be aware of the subtle warning signs of bullying, like a sudden refusal to go to school, regressed behavior, or physical injuries.
  • Intervene to lessen harmAdults must intervene when they witness bullying incidents. Bullies may suffer from a lack of self-confidence or social insecurity, so educators can connect bullies with counselors or mental health professionals to help them build new emotional skills and positive relationships with their peers.
  • Consider alternative student transportation optionsAlternative student transportation can help students who are facing school bus bullying. Going to school in a smaller-capacity vehicle can be a less stressful experience for these kids, enabling them to concentrate better in class.Parents, caregivers, and school districts will also have peace of mind during the transportation of students, as the right alternative transportation partners carefully screen drivers and provide visibility into trips via GPS data.These safe student transportation services can also be customized to meet each child’s unique needs, making it a suitable transportation solution for students from vulnerable communities, such as McKinney-Vento kids, foster youth, and medically fragile students.

Safe student journeys with alternative transportation

We all play a role in speaking out against bullying to protect our children and youth. To learn more about the benefits of our safe, reliable, and cost-effective alternative student transportation solutions, read our whitepaper, “Alternative student transportation – Everything you need to know.”

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