Janesville11.2°

Evansville School District will add aide on buses to control misbehavior

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GINA R. HEINE
September 20, 2010
— The big kids in the back of the school bus were picking on the younger kids.

The bus driver tried to deal with them while driving down a busy highway.


Whenever the driver looked in the mirror to control the kids, his eyes weren’t on the road.


It’s a problem found in every district dating back to the day when kids started misbehaving.


Evansville School District officials are seeking to change that by hiring a new “bus aide” to help control misbehaving students during the morning and afternoon bus routes.


The school board recently approved spending $5,400 on the position using federal stimulus money, said Theresa Daane, director of student services. Applications are being accepted now.


“The goal is to improve what is happening on the bus so there’s no bullying” or inappropriate behavior, she said.


The aide will be used on different routes with input from drivers as needed to supervise the students, she said. The district will train the aide, and drivers also will participate in non-violent crisis intervention training, she said.


The idea has been floated around the last couple years among concerns from parents and drivers, she said.


The district contracts with Ringhand Bus Co. for its 13 bus routes, which have students from kindergarten through 12th grade together.


Challenges arise when a student is kicked off the bus but the parents don’t have another way to get the child to school, owner Scott Ringhand said.


“So then that becomes an issue,” he said. “It’s kind of difficult.”


The district bought two stationary cameras that Ringhand installed about five years ago.


“We are not finding the cameras as effective as we would like,” Daane said.


Ringhand said the cameras’ impacts were varied. Sometimes when a video was shown to a parent of a misbehaving child, the parent pointed to other children who also should be in trouble, he said.


Bus drivers write up students and the school handles the discipline, which ranges from a talk with the principal to being removed from the bus for several days, Daane said.


One or two kids might be removed from a bus in a month, while other months, nobody is removed, Ringhand said.


Ringhand, a bus driver for 33 years, said he couldn’t say why a greater focus is needed on discipline these days. But he has noticed that many kids have lost respect for adults—not necessarily bus drivers, but adults in general, he said. There’s still a lot of good kids, he notes.


“I don’t know what the answer is,” he said. “I wish I did.”



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