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School Bus Company Talks Bus Safety

June 22, 2012, 9:52 PM by Kelly Bartnick

School Bus Company Talks Bus Safety

A YouTube video showing students bullying a senior citizen school bus monitor has made headlines across the country, illustrating how cruel kids can be. Jim Shafer sees it every day driving students at School But, Inc. in Sioux Falls.

“In my opinion, there was a lack of communication between the driver and the aide and the school district,” Shafer said.

Shafer says some Sioux Falls students on his buses do have disciplinary issues, but he's never heard of anything as bad as the incident in New York. Most School Bus, Inc. buses don’t even need aides. Shafer says when punishment has to happen, it does, first by the bus driver.  And if the problem student doesn't shape up, the school district gets a call.

“It seems that the front seat is the worst place on the bus as far as any student is concerned. The first thing we would do is move them up to the front seat for a week or so,” Shafer said.

About 90 percent of the buses in the fleet have black boxes up front. Cameras are often behind the mirrored glass front. Shafer says he has 25 cameras that rotate through all the buses.

“[You can] see things in the air and see who threw it. It really helps to identify a particular student when something happens on the bus,” Shafer said.

And you can see everything else, which helps stop problems before anyone on the buses becomes a target.

The New York students uploaded the video to YouTube.  We should warn you, the video in the link has graphic, unedited language, which may not be appropriate for everyone.

Two of the four have reportedly apologized to the bus monitor for their actions. The local school district and local police are still investigating the incident.

One person who saw the video started an online donation drive to raise money to send the bus monitor on a vacation. So far, more than $500,000 has been raised and is already in an account for the woman.


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