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INDUSTRY CONNECTIONS


One Size Does Not Fit All


CUSTOMIZED SCHOOL-BUS DRIVER EMERGENCY-TRAINING PLANS DELIVER BEST RESULTS


WRITTEN BY ART GISSENDANER S


chool bus drivers in Indiana’s Community School Corporation of Southern Hancock County will be drilling with the Han- cock County SWAT team this summer as part of emergency preparedness training to help them deal with active shooters


and other scenarios they might face while transporting students. Te emergency preparedness plan developed by Stephen Satterly,


Jr., the corporation’s director of transportation and school safety, is part of a larger safety program tailored for situations presented by the corporation’s unique demographics and geography. “Tat’s going to be a very good experience for them,” Satterly


said, who was also the 2011 Indiana State Assistant Principal of the Year. “One of the things I have learned is having people hear the sound of the gunshots will inoculate them when they hear gunshots ring out. Tey’re going to know what a gunshot sounds like on a bus. It will be more intense than anything they’ve heard before, even if they’ve fired a gun.”


Te alumnus of the FBI Citizen’s Academy said the foundation of the program is a DVD-based training program called “Te First 30 Seconds,” developed by Safe Havens International, one of the world’s leading non-profit school safety consulting organizations. He said that while the Safe Havens program provides a scenar- io-based framework, the actual plans of action are developed from discussions involving transportation employees and are specific to the corporation’s needs. “Tat’s the way it should be everywhere,” Satterly said. “It is a


great program and it’s a basis for a tailored program for each dis- trict. It’s a matter of coming up with your scenarios and conducting mental simulations of those scenarios, addressing them from your base of experience.” Satterly, in his 10th year in the district and second year as transpor-


tation director, has dealt with being hit by a car while directing traffic, and revised the safety training of his drivers following an F4 tornado last year. Situations faced by his drivers range from the intrusion of a pit bull on a special needs bus,to parents attempting to trespass. Satterly said he changed the culture of the transportation depart-


ment by eliminating certain practices that catered to parents but that also posed security risks to students, such as allowing stops at places other than approved bus stops. Next, Satterly initiated a series of transportation firsts. He au-


thored and implemented an emergency plan that he requires drivers to carry with them on their buses. He also began holding mandato- ry monthly meetings that for the first time included mechanics and bus aides, and that covered student management. “I think the biggest change I made is relying on the drivers to


give me the information in terms of what they think will work,” Satterly said. “Before, they were never asked what they thought or what they wanted to do. Tey feel empowered; they feel they really


16 School Transportation News May 2013


 Scenario-based training, such as during Roadeos like the one shown above, are vital emergency planning tools that test school-bus driver skills as well as their mental preparedness skills in case an actual incident occurs.


are in charge of their buses.” Satterly was conducting a meeting when news broke about the


Newtown, Conn., shooting. “(Staff) were crushed at the loss of the children but immedi-


ately started talking about how that would affect their driving,” he recalled. “Tat told me that what I was trying to do was happening. It was second nature to think, what can we do?” He said there was a similar response to the shooting death of Alabama school bus driver Charles Poland, Jr. ‘We had a lot of questions because we have had parents force their


way onto a couple of our buses over the past couple of years,” Satter- ly said. “So, immediately it turned to, 'Are there better ways to keep people from getting on our buses?' Tey focused on what can we learn from this to make our jobs better.” Satterly said he hoped he would do the same thing Poland did, shield his students from a gunman, but he could not order his drivers to follow suit. “I say: do everything within our power to prevent that from hap-


pening, but once it happens, what you do is your choice. But you’ve got to think about the kids.” Still, Satterly added that drivers must be open to develop a good


training program. “Get as many people involved as possible,” he said. “Talk to law


enforcement, EMT’s, drivers and parents. You get buy-in and you have a great finished product.” 


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