NAPT MultiView News Brief
Jan. 2, 2014

Bus drivers did 'the right thing' after bombings
Worcester Telegram & Gazette
From April 23: A team of Shrewsbury, Mass., school bus drivers who are usually tasked with shuttling injured runners from medical checkpoints to a triage center at the Boston Marathon finish line found themselves in the midst of chaos this past Monday. The eight school bus drivers work for AA Transportation Co. Inc., which is contracted to provide the medical buses for the Boston Marathon. After the explosions, the drivers were placed on standby, some with nervous and scared passengers on board, with a few selected later to drive into the scene of blasts.More

Why don't most school buses have seat belts?
Aol Autos
From Aug. 27: Seat belts save lives. Using one is "the single most effective way" drivers can prevent death in a car accident, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the government agency charged with keeping motorists out of harm's way. Yet when 26 million American children return to their classrooms aboard school buses over the next few weeks, chances are they'll be heading to school unbelted. NHTSA and school bus industry associations say, even without belts, school bus travel is statistically safer than any other form of ground transportation.More

Stop arms: Why do motorists ignore them?
By Jack Webber
From Oct. 8: All of the school buses that I have had the pleasure of driving have had some sort of stop arm attached — some even have two — so why is it that the most common line heard when I report a stop arm violation is "I didn't see you there"? The bus is bright yellow, and before it stops there are flashing yellow lights at the front and rear. When the bus has stopped, these change to flashing red, and a stop sign extends from the side of the bus. This also has flashing red lights on it.More

Dramatic evidence of dangers of distracted driving
From Jan. 22: You know you're not supposed to do it, but taking your eyes off the road — even for just a moment — can have a devastating impact. "I was in a really bad accident. I hit the back of a tractor-trailer that had a fork lift on it, and I've had over 20 surgeries to repair my face," 24-year-old Amanda Kloehr explains. "I lost an eye, snapped an ankle. I have 36 plates and 48 screws in the right side of my face. I had to learn how to re-walk and I was in a coma." Kloehr was like many teens, who are five times more likely to text and drive. That's according to the cellphone industry, which has teamed up with the government to promote awareness.More

Still on strike, a bus union sees a threat to its culture
The New York Times
From Jan. 29: Each August, just before the start of school, more than 1,000 drivers for the Atlantic Express school bus company gather in a lot in the shadow of Citi Field in Flushing, Queens, N.Y. For the drivers, it is the event of the year, one repeated at lots all over the city, and is known simply as "the pick."More

After Newtown shootings, Pennsylvania county hires armed school guards
The Washington Post
From Jan. 15: Four hundred miles from Sandy Hook Elementary, a superintendent named Mike Strutt left a morning meeting on Dec. 14 and decided to place his schools on "threat alert." He was concerned about a copycat attack on the day of the Connecticut shootings. But, as he read reports of the massacre, he started to worry more about something else. For 20 years, he had specialized in school safety, filling three binders with security plans and lockdown drills — all of which felt suddenly inadequate. In the case of an attack, would a "threat alert" do him any good?More

Boy asks Santa to make children stop bullying his sister
From Sept. 24: For many families, the school year just started, but for Karen Suffern, it's not too early to start planning for Christmas. The financially struggling single mother of fraternal twins recently asked her 8-year-olds to write down a list of things they would like from Santa. Her son, Ryan's, letter to Santa started off normally: "Dear Santa ... I wanted a (remote control) car and helicopter, but I don't want that anymor. Kid at school are still picking on Amber and its not fair," he wrote. "I prayed that they will stop but god is bisy and needs your help."More

School bus GPS systems picking up steam nationwide
From Oct. 22: About 25 million students ride school buses every day. Every so often, something goes wrong: Children are occasionally left behind or get lost on the wrong bus route. Now schools are using technology to bring parents some peace of mind.More

School board rescinds decision to end bus service in 2014-2015 school year
Superintendent Andy Craig said school officials are exploring ways to continue offering bus service with the school system's own bus fleet and drivers and charge students a fee to ride the bus.More

NAPT and NSTA issue joint response to NTSB recommendations
As most of you are aware, the National Transportation Safety Board recently made two important recommendations to our industry based on their investigations of school bus crashes in Chesterfield, N.J., and Port St. Lucie, Fla. We are pleased to let you know that NAPT and NSTA were able to work together and submit joint comments to the NTSB.More

Colorado school shooting: Armed guards the answer?
Yahoo News
As they investigate the latest school shooting in the United States, one thing is clear to law enforcement officials there: The presence of an armed deputy sheriff on regular duty at the school was the key factor in preventing more deaths and injuries.More

Obama uses executive power to move gun control agenda forward
The Hill
From April 2: President Barack Obama is quietly moving forward on gun control. The president has used his executive powers to bolster the national background check system, jumpstart government research on the causes of gun violence and create a million-dollar ad campaign aimed at safe gun ownership. Regional offices with the General Services Administration have begun to reach out to local schools, advising them about the agency's "Cooperative Purchasing" program, which gives discounted rates to schools on security equipment including: surveillance cameras, emergency communication systems, security design and support, and employee background check systems.More

Students in 5 states brace for longer school days
The Associated Press via ABC News
From Nov. 19: In Connecticut, Colorado, Massachusetts and New York there are more than 9,000 students in high-poverty areas going to schools where expanded school schedules were developed to help with instruction and enrichment. Recently, another group of schools in these states and Tennessee announced they would plan a redesign of their schedules for the 2014-2015 year. In many cases, they would be using an extra 300 hours a year for things there isn't enough time for during a regular school day.More