Inspection tackles bullying on school buses with workshop

POSTED: 05/29/12 1:27 PM

St. Maarten – School bus drivers will get a workshop designed to inform them about how to handle bullying of students by other students, the department of communications stated in a press release issued yesterday. The initiative comes on the heels of an incident on a school bus whereby a high school student slapped a primary school pupil “because of seating preference.”
The incident occurred recently on Bishop Hill. A student from a high school in the Philipsburg area entered the school bus and slapped a student from a primary school because of seating preference. The student in question was also aggressive towards the bus driver.
The high school student parent was notified and was informed that the student may not take the school bus until the incident has been fully addressed, the press release stated.
The release also mentions past incidents like “school bag snatching, removal of lunch money from a student’s bag; pushing or demanding one to move from a seat and teasing of timid students that begins on school premises and continues on the bus.”

Martha Thewet, the section head of the school bussing and taxi dispatching inspection department announced that school bus bullying will be addressed in a workshop for bus drivers.
Bullying is unwarranted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions like making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.
“Parents and school staff have a role to play in preventing bullying. Children and young teenagers need to be explained and understand bullying and learn how to treat others with kindness and respect,” Thewet said.
“Fighting in a school bus is dangerous and it threatens the safety of those on the bus as well as other motorized traffic on the road. It is the responsibility of the section to ensure reliable, comfortable and safe bussing of students.”
Bullying can threaten students’ physical and emotional safety at school and can negatively impact their ability to learn. The best way to address bullying is to stop it before it starts.

Riding on the school bus is a privilege, a service provided by government at no cost.
School busses are privately owned vehicles and parents will be held responsible for their children’s actions, the press release stated.
The inspection department encourages anybody who sees any unusual behavior on a school bus to report this at 542 45 11 or 542 45 09 or call the police if it is an immediate danger.

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