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The Value of School Resource Officers

Second EXPO keynote to share the importance of training, collaboration with transportation

As school security and safety

Mo Canady is the executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers.

continue to concern commu- nities and dominate headlines, this year’s STN EXPO will welcome keynote presenter Mo Canady, executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers. He will address attendees on Tuesday, July 23, about the effectiveness of SROs on school campuses. Canady served 25 years as a

lieutenant with the Hoover, Ala., Police Department, and spent the last 12 as the supervisor of its School Services Division before retiring. He was appointed a NASRO instructor in 2001 and became a member on the NAS- RO board of directors in 2005. He also formerly was president of the association. Canady is part of an asso- ciation whose No. 1 goal is

Kwon said during the April 18, 2011, broadcast. “Our school buses work amazing well, which is good considering how much we rely on them.” Kwon certainly relied on them. He said his parents worked hard

but rarely were able to provide “the best of everything,” as was the reality for many of his classmates living in the affluent suburbs of San Francisco’s East Bay. “We had lots of rough times, but education and the classroom, and the bus as an extension of that, was a safety net,” he said. “It was a place where I enjoyed being and was an outlet to satisfy my curiosity, a refuge.” But first, he needed a reliable way to get there, not only to school but also the road to success as an attorney, legislative aid, business- man and television personality.


Kwon, who first realized fame in appearing on and winning the CBS reality show “Survivor: Cook Islands” in 2006, said he stood out like a sore thumb as a youngster, so he felt, at least. A minority student attending schools in an upper middle-class, predominantly Caucasian neighborhood, he was susceptible to bullies, especially on the school bus. Aside from being picked on, Kwon remembers the bus driver who he said allowed the behavior to take place. Tat driver, Kwon added, was not engaged with the students and failed to keep and orderly bus environment. As Kwon recalled, it was as if the driver allowed the bullying, the pushing and the name-calling. “I used to be afraid of the bus and being made fun of,” he said,

admitting that, as a result, low self-esteem issues took root and lasted well into his adulthood. But things started to change when “Mr. John” — the name Kwon

remembers for his new bus driver — took over the route and intro- duced a new environment.

58 School Transportation News May 2013

“He was a very approachable yet disciplined person. He kept an

orderly house, and he soon became like a father figure to me,” Kwon added. “I suddenly enjoyed coming to the bus stop. I felt secure, safe and learned certain rules of life.” What could a bus full of students teach an impressionable

youngster, you may ask? As is the case with many young boys, it involved a girl. Kwon had a crush but, like most kids his age, he did not know

how to “appropriately” express his affections. Once bullied but now feeling safe on Mr. John’s bus, Kwon found himself acting up to get noticed by the young lass. “Te way I tried to get her attention was by throwing things at

her or trying to trip her every time she walked by,” said Kwon. “It was my desperate attempt to get some attention.” But Mr. John would not have it. He sat Kwon down one day and told him that his behavior was unacceptable. “He told me that’s not the way you conduct yourself either inside the bus or out,” Kwon added. “I learned there are certain boundaries I have to respect and observe, and just how I don’t like being pushed around, I can’t do that to other people.” It was a lesson of “Do unto others as you would have done to you”

that Kwon lives by to this day. (Te girl, by the way, never did return his affections.) Still, he learned at an early age the importance of school busing,

even if at the time it was only from his bus driver on how to con- duct himself with the opposite sex.


As Kwon continued to pursue his educational dreams, he said he began to realize how vital school and buses are to the fabric of success. “What makes America special is education, not just in the class-

room but the infrastructure, and that includes school buses,” he said. “Tat is one of reasons I went into public service. I’m very passion-

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