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EDITORIAL DESK Some Summer Thoughts

TAKE A BREAK While finalizing this month’s edition, I was preparing to take my family on our first camping trip.

By Stephane Babcock

We initially planned to all sleep in tents, but things changed. Although I have spent numerous weekends camping in every kind of weather and in everything from a small, non-waterproof pup tent to a warm and cozy log cabin, my wife and especially my kids have had little experience with roughing it in the great outdoors. For this reason, we decided to rent a tent trailer for this adventure. It’s not as posh as a full-on

camper, but it is a little more comfortable than sleeping on the ground in a sleeping bag. But, more than anything, it will be a break from the hectic day-to-day of Southern California. After close to 200 school days, each filled with their own challenges to overcome, we felt everyone needed a much-deserved break. How about you? How did you spend the summer months? Everyone needs a way to cool off and

recoup, especially those of you who transporting a bus load of kids. I’ve asked this before, but how do you do it? After a couple hours of driving in a Suburban with four kids, I have very little patience left. So, once again, I salute you and your saint-like attitudes. Take this summer to reward yourself for a year of early mornings, late afternoons and everything in between.

WHY WAS THIS NECESSARY? I am not an expert in politics, and I have no specific political affiliation. Tat being said, I am

definitely no conservative, so I rarely watch TV shows hosted by political pundits like Sean Hannity. Recently I was looking up some information on former Department of Education official Kevin Jen- nings’ new position as the president and CEO of Be the Change, a nonprofit group that organizes national issue-based campaigns. On his June 20 Fox News show, Hannity took more than a moment to spin and over-sensationalize certain “facts” from Jennings’ past. I will not repeat them and cause further unnecessary conversation, but you can see it for yourself at What troubled me most, aside from Hannity’s hateful and borderline anti-gay rhetoric, was the

fact that when another contributor began mentioning some of Jennings’ successes, specifically the federal anti-bullying conference in March, Hannity began talking over those points as if they weren’t important. I wonder if Mr. Hannity has ever been bullied, ever been made to feel unwelcome or not good

enough? If he was ever shoved into a locker or ridiculed for any number of different reasons? Comments like the ones made during this particular show are examples of another, more socially- accepted form of bullying. Jennings has made it his life’s work to give a voice to those who have been muted by this same kind of behavior.

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK, I CAN HANDLE IT In the more than four years I have been with STN and a part of this industry, I have had many

interesting conversations — face to face and by phone or e-mail — that have challenged how I see things. It began with very frank discussions concerning seat belts and has moved through a number of different issues and school bus–related topics. I am saying this because I welcome these discus- sions and would like to have more of them. As a rookie in this industry, there is still so much that I need to learn, and the best teachers are

usually those with the most experience. If there is an article or column that you read and you either disagree or see something that doesn’t sit right, shoot me an e-mail, give me a call or stop me at the next industry event you see me at. Some of you reading this were at this year’s STN EXPO in Reno. I, like the rest of the STN staff,

am constantly running around and making sure everything is running as smoothly as possible, but I still have time to chat. So if you see me and have a question or a comment, pull me aside and let’s talk. It will probably be a learning experience for me and hopefully a good conversation for you. I am always ready to listen and learn, something that more people need to do as well. ■

58 School Transportation News Magazine August 2011

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