Star and Strand Transportation Inc.
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Safety Fact: School Buses Are the Safest Way to Get to School - AND Changing Lives: Stories of Impact - 5/22/14
Safety Fact: School Buses Are the Safest Way to Get to School Keeping children safe is the priority of school transportation. When parents put their children on the bus, they’re trusting that their children will return to them safe and sound. And every school day, the Yellow School Bus repays that trust over and over again. Simply put, the Yellow School Bus is the safest way to get to school. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA): The [school bus's safety] record is impressive: American students are nearly eight times safer riding in a school bus than with their own parents and guardians in cars. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “School Bus Safety: Crashworthiness Research.” April 2002. Link.) The question then arises, why doesn’t everyone “Love the Bus”? Misinformation, misguided policy makers, and misunderstandings stand in the way of making our children safer and more secure. When local and state governments cut school bus funding to save a few dollars, and deprive children of school bus ridership, they are making a definitive choice to make our children less safe. Please stand with the American School Bus Council in supporting the Yellow School Bus. As the safest way to get our children to and from school, help us in our mission to educate parents, students, and policy mankers about the benefits of Riding Yellow. -
Changing Lives: Stories of Impact
Danae Vachata, A Young Woman's Fight to Finish College
Home isn’t just a place; it’s a feeling too. It’s a refuge from all the things the world has imposed upon us. Danae had a house, but she didn’t have a home. "I was sexually molested when I was two. That's my first memory," Danae said. "I remember the smells, how I felt - everything that happened." Danae began wearing long-sleeved shirts to hide her bruises and finally, after years of abuse, she left the house and became a young, homeless, runaway youth.
Danae spent most of high school as an unaccompanied homeless youth. She then moved to Louisiana, enrolling in a local college to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor. Danae qualified for federal financial aid as an unaccompanied homeless youth because she had no ties to her parents. In order to afford an apartment, she worked 70 hours a week for rent and grocery money. “I’d go days without sleeping sometimes,” she said. “Just the stress of the jobs and trying to keep straight As, so I could get into medical school.”
Moving to Louisiana, while stressful, seemed like the greatest escape from her past and a giant leap toward a bright future. Unfortunately for Danae, this escape was soon threatened. Despite no support from her parents, the school claimed she wasn’t an unaccompanied youth and took away much of her financial aid. Danae defaulted on her loans, was in danger of being removed from school, and became homeless for the second time. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) had a loophole in its protections for homeless youth, allowing a school to deny special considerations to those who were 22 and 23 years-old. Danae appealed to the college, but received no help – or even sympathy.
But even after all of that, even during those terrified nights spent in her car – afraid to fall asleep and afraid to wake up – Danae refused to be defeated. She reached out to the Law Center, and faced with her persistence and the Law Center’s advocacy, the school conceded its decision was wrong. Danae’s financial aid was reinstated, and she received her diploma, with medical school soon to follow! We honored Danae, as seen in the picture above, at our 14th annual McKinney-Vento Awards ceremony where she helped raise awareness about homeless students who, like her, experience hurdles they shouldn't have to while pursuing their education.
Non Verbal Indicators of Violence: What to look for!!
Nonverbal Indicators of Violence: What to Look For
Touching one's head. Clenching one's fists. Removing clothing. Keeping an eye out for these types of actions and stopping a student before a situation escalates will enable pupil transportation professionals to maintain a safe bus environment.
by By Bret Brooks
Bret Brooks is a full-time police officer, a SWAT team sniper and a captain in the U.S. Army.
Encountering violence is not something that is limited to police officers. Today's society is filled with violent images, movies and video games, all of which can affect children and potentially cause them to behave violently.
As children become increasingly violent, they are unable to modify their behavior when they want to conceal their actions and intentions - there will be warning signs of impending aggression because human behavior and communication depend highly on body language.
Nonverbal clues can indicate when danger is near, but only if people know what to look for.
There are a number of resources available to aid in this, including books, videos and training programs. The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker is, in my opinion, the best book on the market that addresses human intuition. I recommend that everyone put this book at the top of their reading lists.
If you can recognize indicators of violence at the onset of a situation, you will be able to react appropriately and, possibly, thwart the violence altogether.
Breaking down the human body into sections, I will examine indicators of violence associated with the head, hands and lower body, as well as a person's clothing.
Hands on head
As a person becomes angry, frustration builds up. Anger is an emotion, and as such, it is processed in the brain. When the mind fills with hate, it will attempt to release the emotion in any way possible.
One way it will attempt this is to subconsciously instruct the person to raise his or her hands to his or her head. The hands will physically touch the head, or come very close to touching the head. Often, the person will rub his or her head and scalp. The hands will then become clenched as they "grasp a hold of the anger."
The hands, holding the anger, will then move away from the head, releasing some of the emotional buildup. This is an immediate indicator that a person is becoming violent.
Clenched fists, hand wringing
Clenched fists are a sign of anger that most people recognize. Other indicators include popping one's knuckles, rubbing one's hands together and hand wringing. A student performing these actions may be preparing his or her hands for a fight by loosening their muscles and tendons.
Hand wringing is a subconscious action similar to raising the hands to the head in order to "grasp" anger. Once the anger has been grasped, the body needs a way of releasing the anger from the hands. Wringing one's hands together, like drying them off on a towel, allows the anger to fall from the hands and away from the body. Finger pointing is another aggressive act.
Aggressive lower body stance
When people prepare to fight, they will position the lower portion of their bodies in a stance that is suitable for fighting or fleeing. Their feet will be positioned shoulder-width apart and their knees will bend slightly. This allows people to punch using the force of their entire upper bodies, to kick, or to turn and run away.
The body will also blade to a person's strong side. If the person is right-handed, he or she will move his or her left side forward, toward the perceived threat, and the right side back at an angle. Someone who is left-handed will take a stance in the opposite direction, with the right side forward.
Similar to grasping the head or wringing the hands, removing clothing is another way for a person to release built up anger and frustration. By shedding articles of clothing, the person is attempting to "lighten his load."
There is another reason that a person will remove articles of clothing. By taking off a hat, coat or jacket, the person is freeing his or her body from restrictions. A person who throws a punch while wearing a T-shirt will find it much easier than punching while wearing a jacket. By taking off layers of clothing, the person is preparing for a fight.
Taking preventive action is crucial
All of the aforementioned indicators should be examined together in relation to the circumstances under which they occur. Furthermore, nonverbal clues should be examined in conjunction with verbal indicators. A student who displays only one of these indicators may not become violent, but a person who displays numerous indicators should be closely monitored.
(Also, be aware that some people simply do not display any indicators prior to a violent attack.)
Something else to keep in mind is that the younger the student, the more he or she will test a situation before becoming violent. While an adult may not display any indicators prior to attacking someone, a young child will "test the water" over an extended period of time. As the student feels out the situation, he or she builds confidence.
Taking preventive actions during this "testing" phase is essential. Doing so tells the student that his or her behavior is inappropriate and will not be tolerated. If the student feels the "water is too deep," he or she will, in most cases, stop and not become violent.
There is no one cure-all or "silver bullet" to prevent violence. However, recognizing warning signs and taking immediate and appropriate action to stop the behavior is a substantial step in the right direction.
Bret Brooks is a senior instructor for Gray Ram Tactical LLC, a full-time police officer, a SWAT team sniper, and a captain in the U.S. Army. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice, a Master of Arts degree in national security, and has focused numerous studies on terrorism and violence. He can be reached at [email protected]
Copyright © 2010 School Bus Fleet. All Rights Reserved.
Better Not TEXT in your school bus!!!!
January 26, 2010
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced federal guidance to prohibit texting by drivers of commercial vehicles, including school buses.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced federal guidance to prohibit texting by drivers of commercial vehicles such as large trucks and buses, including school buses.
The prohibition is effective immediately and is the latest in a series of actions taken by the Department of Transportation (DOT) to combat distracted driving since LaHood convened a national summit on the issue in September.
“We want the drivers of big rigs and buses and those who share the roads with them to be safe,” LaHood said. “This is an important safety step, and we will be taking more to eliminate the threat of distracted driving.”
The action is the result of the DOT’s interpretation of standing rules. Truck and bus drivers who text while driving commercial vehicles may be subject to civil or criminal penalties of up to $2,750.
Federal research shows that drivers who send and receive text messages take their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds out of every 6 seconds while texting. At 55 miles per hour, this means that the driver is traveling the length of a football field, including the end zones, without looking at the road.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is working on additional regulatory measures on the use of electronic devices while driving. Those measures will be announced in the coming months, the agency said.
Driver Keeps kids safe at shooting scene!!!
MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. — The 7-year-old girl had been pacing back and forth across the road as Dave Emerson pulled up in his school bus.
The girt and her 9-year-old sister always waited in their mother's car until Emerson arrived and extended the stop arm. But on this morning in November, the girt ran up to the bus and yelled, "My dad just shot my mom!"
In an interview with SBF, Emerson said at that point, he went "into that mode" where his extensive training kicked in and he did what he needed to do to keep the kids safe while helping the mother, whose hand he could see on the ground next to the car.
Emerson, a bus driver for Michigan City Area Schools for over four years, radioed dispatch for help and secured the bus, instructing the older kids to move the younger kids to the back and wait.
Emerson approached the car and found the older sister talking with 911 on a cell phone. Then someone whom Emerson recognized as a neighbor of the girls pulled up to help, and the bus driver instructed the neighbor to take the girts to their grandparents' just house up the road.
Emerson took over the 911 call and attended to the mother, describing her wound to the dispatcher and checking her pulse and breathing.
"She's fading on me fast!" the bus driver said.
Just as the dispatcher instructed Emerson to begin CPR, a firefighter arrived at the scene and took over. Unfortunately, the mom couldn't be saved.
As police arrived, Emerson got back on the bus to take his passengers to school. Kevin Neafie, the district's director of transportation, had notified the superintendent and counselors and met them at the school.
"When the bus showed up, the school went into lock down," Neafie said. "We weren't sure where the dad was. But we later learned that he had committed suicide in the grandparents' driveway."
At a school board meeting last week, Emerson was honored for his decisive actions to protect the children and assist the mother.
"All of us here look at him as a hero," Neafie said. "I would say that some drivers wouldn't know how to handle it the way he did. I wouldn't wish this on anybody, but I'm glad Dave was there."
A detailed profile of Emerson and his response to the incident will appear in the January issue of SBF.
NEW YORK — A bus carrying 35 elementary school children on an outing has caught fire on a New York City bridge, but the children and their escorts have been rescued.
The bus was transporting students from Brooklyn's P.S. 5 on Friday morning when it burst into flames near the Staten Island-bound toll plaza of the double-decked Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
A Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokeswoman says bridge workers used fire extinguishers to douse the flames and removed the 4- and 5-year-old students, their escorts and the driver.
Traffic stopped for an hour on the six-lane upper level of the bridge, which was the world's longest suspension span when it opened in 1964 and was featured in the John Travolta disco movie "Saturday Night Fever."
Paramedics examined the students and the adults. There were no injuries.
The cause of the fire hasn't been determined.
Nov. 6, 2009
Teen shoots another on school bus in W.
By Peter Mucha Inquirer Staff Writer
A teenager shot and critically wounded another youth on a school bus headed to a high school for troubled students in West Philadelphia this morning, police said.
Police later arrested the 15-year-old suspect with a .25-caliber handgun nine blocks away.
The 17-year-old victim suffered a head wound that left him in critical but stable condition at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, as of early this afternoon.
Police said the shooting stemmed from an earlier confrontation, but would not elaborate.
Law enforcement sources said the gunman may have retaliated for an earlier incident of bullying.
The gunfire erupted in the back of the bus around 8 a.m. on Pine Street, near South 57th Street, a residential neighborhood of gabled rowhouses.
The shooter shoved a gun in the driver's face and jumped off the bus through the front door, fleeing toward 60th Street, officials said. Police later caught him at South 61st and Cedar Streets.
Officials at the scene originally said it appeared the victim had suffered only a graze wound, but it was determined after he arrived at the hospital that a bullet had entered his head behind the ear.
The bus was en route to Community Education Partners, a program for students with behavioral problems at 43rd Street and Westminster Avenue in West Philadelphia.
About a dozen students were on the bus when the shooting erupted and half of them had left and walked to school by the time police arrived, officials said.
"The ease of these kids to get guns is something that troubles us on a daily basis," said Deputy
Commissioner Kevin Bethel.
The suspect, not immediately identified because he is a juvenile, was taken for questioning at Southwest Detectives. Police also were interviewing the students who stayed with the bus.
Fernando Gaillard, spokesman for the School District, quoted bus system manager John Lombardi as saying he had never seen anything like this in 30 years.
Mother upset after son left on bus all day
By Sarah Newell Williamson | Hickory Daily Record
A child who attends Conover School was left on a school bus all day Monday. The mistake by the bus driver was only discovered at a scheduled meeting that afternoon between the student's mother and his teacher.
"I was at the school for a meeting with his teacher, and my son was supposed to be at the school for the meeting," said Betty Greenard, the child's mother. "My son wasn't there, and the teacher told me he hadn't been in school and she had marked him as absent that day."
Greenard said she knew her 9-year-old son, Chancelor, got on the bus that morning.
"My boyfriend called me, and told me that my son was at home and he looked terrible," Greenard said.
She figured out that since he boarded the bus that morning and never made it inside but rode the bus home, he must have stayed on the bus all day.
"The driver failed to follow procedure to check to make sure everyone got off the bus," said Barry Redmond, Newton-Conover City Schools' superintendent.
He said the student often sleeps on the bus, and he fell asleep on the way to school. Redmond said the school system thinks the student did not get off the bus while it was parked on Monday.
Each bus Conover School uses carries between five and 12 students, Redmond said.
The incident is under investigation, and the school system is taking appropriate action against the bus driver, he said.
Greenard questions whether the school would have even told her about it if she hadn't come to school on Monday.
"If I had never had a meeting with the teacher, the school might have covered it up," she said.
Greenard said she's very concerned about her son, who's autistic. He doesn't speak a lot, but is very outgoing, she said.
"He was red and dehydrated. He was kind of out of it," she said. "He appeared to be in shock."
Greenard said she had Chancelor checked out by paramedics. Although he seemed to be fine, she's still concerned. On Tuesday, he had a fever and didn't go to school. She said she plans to take him to a doctor today.
Sherry Connor has been Chancelor's rehabilitative technician since July 1. She said she's noticed he's primarily been sitting around the house since Monday instead of being his outgoing self.
"It's very upsetting," Connor said. "Nothing like this should ever occur, especially at a school where kids have special needs and need special attention."
Greenard said one of her primary concerns is that her son was on the bus all day, near a roadway.
"What if he got out in the road? He could have been killed in the road, or smothered in the bus," she said.
The school system is reviewing its procedures to ensure a situation like this doesn't happen again, Redmond said. This includes having a teacher's assistant sweep the buses to make sure all students are off.
"We're extremely disappointed this happened," he said. "There was a failure to follow procedure, and we'll make sure it doesn't happen again."
Importance of DVIRS
One of the Star and Strand Vehicles was inspected recently. On the inspection report, Star and Strand was written up for missing DVIR's and missing a "service" by the garage. The garage was overdue on servicing the vehicle because the driver did not turn in DVIR's for 2 months. Also the missing 2 months of DVIR's was not noticed by the garage (DVIR) person because the driver was not working a regular schedule during the summer. The driver worked 3-4 days a week during the summer and was being seen in the office on the days that they worked. Star and Strand is proud of their excellent inspection record. This drivers blatant disrequard of our rules AND New York State law, marred Star and Strand's excellent inspection record and reflects on every driver at Star and Strand. We take this time to remind all drivers of the importance of handing in their DVIR's on a daily basis. Your cooperation is appreciated.
No Smoking on Buses........driver suspended for 2 days!!!
During the week of October 26-30, 2009 a
Star and Strand vehicle was found with
cigarette ashes on the floor. The driver was
told about it and was suspended for 2 days.
Star and Strand has a zero tolerance towards
smoking on school vehicles. NO SMOKING AT
ANY TIME ON SCHOOL BUSES.
Feds aim to crack down on texting bus drivers
October 05, 2009
Feds aim to crack down on texting bus drivers
In the U.S. DOT’s summit on distracted driving, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said a forthcoming rulemaking will seek to disqualify school bus drivers convicted of texting while driving from maintaining their commercial driver’s licenses.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A forthcoming federal rulemaking will seek to disqualify school bus drivers convicted of texting while driving from maintaining their commercial driver’s licenses.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the action in a two-day summit devoted to the topic of distracted driving in all modes of transportation.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) will also create a rulemaking that will consider banning text messaging and restricting the use of cell phones by truck and interstate bus operators.
Another rulemaking would consider making permanent restrictions on the use of cell phones and other electronic devices in rail operations.
LaHood called on state and local governments to work with the DOT to reduce fatalities and crashes by making distracted driving part of their state highway plans, and by continuing to pass state and local laws against distracted driving in all types of vehicles, especially school buses.
But the federal government also moved to set an example by its own actions. President Obama signed an executive order directing federal employees not to engage in text messaging when driving government-owned vehicles; when using electronic equipment supplied by the government while driving; or when driving privately owned vehicles when they’re on official government business.
The order also encourages federal contractors and others doing business with the government to adopt and enforce their own policies banning texting while driving on the job.
“This order sends a very clear signal to the American public that distracted driving is dangerous and unacceptable,” LaHood said. “I fully expect that all 58,000 DOT employees and contractors will take this order seriously.”
The summit brought together safety experts, researchers, industry representatives, elected officials and members of the public who shared their expertise, experiences and ideas for reducing distracted driving.
Speakers from around the nation led interactive sessions on a number of key topics, including the extent and impact of distracted driving, current research, regulations and best practices. People from 49 states participated in the summit via the Web.
The summit also featured a discussion with Seventeen magazine Editor-in-Chief Ann Shoket and young adults that explored the dangers of texting and driving.
High school classrooms across the country tuned into the youth-geared program and heard insights from Reggie Shaw, 22, and Nicole Meredith, 18, both of whom caused car crashes because they were texting while behind the wheel.
This past week a Star and Strand bus had an incident during the AM run. The driver called over the radio that smoke was coming out of the dash area of the bus. The driver stated the location and that they were evacuating the bus. The dispatcher called the Troy Police and the fire department. Also a spare bus and a representative from the company were sent to the scene. The driver loaded the students onto a spare bus and proceeded on the run.
The firemen used a heat sensing device to locate the source of the smoke, which was in the front bus sign panel. Upon opening the panel, a roll of paper towels was found pressing against the sign bulbs. Paper towels were smoldering. The firemen removed the paper towels. The bus was then driven to the Star and Strand garage. The mechanics replaced several light bulbs and sockets. The rest of the bus was fine and the bus was back on the road.
The bus driver did everything right in this incident. As trained, the driver upon spotting smoke, stopped the bud, called the dispatcher with the problem and location. The driver and monitor then evacuated the students from the bus and waited for help. The dispatcher called for police and fire department. Dispatch also sent a spare bus to the scene. If the driver, monitor AND students had not been trained (3 hour refresher – twice a year for driver and monitor, 30 hour Basic class for driver, 10 hour Basic class for the monitor, 3 times a year for fire drills for students), this could have been a deadly incident. A school bus burns within 5 minutes from the ignition of a fire. If a driver ignores smoke and continues driving until fire is visible, someone could have burned and maybe killed.
ONCE AGAIN – DO NOT STORE FLAMMABLE ITEMS ON SCHOOL BUSES. This includes paper products, glass cleaner, windshield washer fluid, etc. Also plastic bags should not be hung from the door opener frame. There should not be any loose items on the bus. If there is a sudden stop or start ……. Loose items could become projectiles.
Scott and Warren cover this at every 3 hour refresher meeting. Everybody agrees and nods their heads. Scott and Warren also drivers and monitor that they are to ones responsible if something happens on the bus. Bottom Line is: It is up to each driver and monitor to follow these guidelines.
remember , the vehicle you drive has our name and phone number clearly displayed. Any driving errors will be seen and reported by John Q Public.