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SPECIAL REPORT


the last [to be] recognized and the people there don’t feel as valued. It is important to stand up for drivers when things go wrong and make sure their voices are heard,” said Hahn. For example, if a parent voices displeasure with a bus


driver, the school’s administration might want to elimi- nate the problem by moving the driver to another route, rather than getting to the bottom of the issue. The driv- er’s supervisor should be there to help. “I want to make sure the driver is heard and look for ways to resolve the problem. Ideally, you want everyone to leave feeling good and that the relationship is intact. Maybe the child and the driver will both apologize to each other and this will instill trust,” said Hahn. It is important to help people figure out challenging


situations, he added. “We listen to staff and their ideas. We want to help people and give them opportunities,” noted Hahn. “There are a lot of demands placed on drivers and supervisors. It is very stressful. It is important for people to take care of themselves, to avoid getting burned out.” Michael Shields, director of transportation for the


Salem-Keizer School District in Oregon, said it is im- portant to be transparent with team members by sharing information. If a parent complains about a driver, he


recommends the supervisor gather all of the facts before drawing any conclusions. “Get the facts and have an open mind about a situ-


ation. Some kids will misbehave, so before you jump to conclusions, do some homework. Get both sides of the story,” said Shields. If a supervisor and a driver are having difficulties, efforts are made to reconcile the situ- ation. It is important to resolve the situation rather than ignore it. While accountability is important, Shields said driv- ers and managers can still have a little fun at work. “We have awards and we give our employees birthday cards. I think it is important to create a sense of friendliness at work,” he said. “We have the ‘Pickle Award’ for the driver who provides great customer service, and the ‘Wow’ button for someone who goes above and beyond for another person. We had a driver buy a box of groceries for another who was facing a tough month.” It is important to realize that bus drivers are people and they face challenges in their personal lives. Shields said he believes it is important to get to know staff mem- bers—not only for the work they do, but also as people. “Get to know their names and put a smile on their face. Share information with people so they feel involved,” he advised. ●


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See Us At Booth 342 22 School Transportation News • JULY 2019


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