Several school bus drivers attended Monday night’s Butler Area School Board meeting to voice concerns about student behavior and safety.
Michael Bester, a Valley Lines driver and mechanic, said the bad behavior of students while on buses is sprawling out of control.
“I’m seeing it on a lot of buses. I’m hearing it from a lot of drivers. I think it’s a safety issue. I think this really needs looked into. It’s getting very, very out of control,” he told the board.
Bester and at least seven other drivers spoke about frustration with student discipline as well as driving with a fear of committing an offense that would immediately result in termination.
Butler Superintendent Dr. Brian White agreed that the district has a problem and hopes that everyone involved can work together to find a solution.
“It is a number of breakdowns. One of those breakdowns is procedural. We have a seven-step process here which doesn’t work. But it’s going to take more than just consequences. We have to change the culture of our buses, the culture of our schools and what the expectations are. That’s really going to require working together,” he said.
White plans to meet with representatives from Valley Lines later this week with the intention to set up a working group to discuss policies and procedures.
This all comes after the district last week told Valley Lines to remove a driver from his Butler route after he allegedly “brake-checked” students on his bus, causing them to be thrown from their seats. The driver reportedly said students were loudly fighting and wouldn’t listen to verbal commands to stop.