BGRD bus drivers expand bullying prevention skills
On Thursday, November 1, 2018, bus drivers in Black Gold Regional Division No. 18 (BGRD) gathered to discuss one of the issues many of them deal with regularly – bullying.
As part of a professional development day, the contractors heard from renowned training organization B.R.A.V.E, which stands for Bullying Resistance Anti-Violence Education. Founder Carrie Percival told the group, “You are more than just bus drivers. You may be the first smile they [the students] see every day, and the last.”
The interactive presentation included stories from Percival’s own experience with being bullied in her youth. She helped participants examine the differences between bullying and conflict using situational activities, and discuss practical tools they can deploy on their buses to effectively manage and diffuse situations that have the potential to escalate.
This year’s School Bus Safety Week in October, organized by the Alberta Student Transportation Advisory Council, also had an anti-bullying theme. BGRD’s transportation manager, Sue Timmermans says the connection is intentional. “It is a topic that is very important to us. Bullying and conflict management is always a concern on school buses where there is only one adult with a large number of students of all ages.”
The bullying prevention tips were shared with 104 BGRD bus drivers and other transportation representatives. Timmermans says the networking is invaluable. “It allows our drivers to discuss what works on the bus and what doesn’t. Our goal is prevention.”