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“Now, we have some drivers that do extra. Some drivers will pay for their kids to get ice cream in the cafeteria,” Odom said. “We had a bus that had a few write-ups over a year, and that driver (hosted) a pizza party at a pizza place, which I paid for.” Some bus drivers, however, are


stuck in their ways. As the adult in charge, they think that the children should automatically listen to them. Mulick said teaching bus drivers how to address student behavior is an important step. He added that the transportation staff needs to know the common behaviors that take place on a school bus and the triggers that create those unwanted behaviors. “We have more and more complex kids getting on the bus every year. For some of our kids, backpacks are not the only baggage they are bringing with them to school every day,” Mulick said. “They have a lot of challenges that they are facing, just in their personal life. Knowing how to support those students through our small interac- tions, is going to be important, [as is] knowing how to react appropriately when behaviors do come up.” Mulick added that punishment is


not always the most effective way to handle a situation. But if punishment is used, it should not be used in isola- tion. Staff need to ensure that they are also reinforcing students on correct behavior. Otherwise, he explained, the punishment may negatively affect the adult-to-student relationship. The school bus is an extension of the classroom. Transportation officials should collaborate with their school districts, to see what practices they


have put in place for correcting be- haviors in the classroom. “In my mind, it is the ultimate


portable classroom,” Mulick said. “It is very similar to the set-up of hanging out in the hallway. Instead, they are


sitting on a bus. It is the same group of kids that interact with each other every day. So having the same type of support... [that] we have for kids in the schoolhouse, (is what) we need to have in our school buses.” ●


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Patrick Mulick will speak at the STN EXPO Indianapolis in June and in Reno in July. His workshops will focus on identifying behaviors, and how to react, so that children are best supported.


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