Board discusses foul language on buses

WHEATLAND – A concerned parent spoke out at the last Platte County School District No. 1 board meeting last week about the level of foul and indecent language being said on the District School Buses. Her young daughters, ages 6 and 8-years-old, repeatedly come home asking her what derogative sexual terms mean that they heard spoken by children on the bus. Terms children that age should have no business hearing. Is there a policy for dealing with “foulness beyond belief?”
Superintendent Dennis Fischer and all the principals nodded their heads, implying they understand that it is a serious problem and were all familiar with the bus route she was referring to.
“We can remove students from a bus. We have been monitoring that bus quite a bit. We’ve gone to the point where we have a second bus driver right now. The reports that we getting back is that it’s getting better, and if it’s not and you’re not seeing things getting better, than make sure you let us know,” explained Fischer.  “If an incident happens on that bus the bus driver will get in contact with the principal of the student. Then that principal will work directly with that student that was a disruption. As far as removing a student, that is up to the principal involved.”
The PCSD No. 1 Handbook has this to say about the subject: No foul language, rude gestures, or loud talking on the bus. The bus driver will bring disciplinary cases to the bus supervisor and principal. Please note all busses utilize video recording devices. The principal, when reviewing an event, will request data from these devices. Students who become serious disciplinary problems on the bus may have their riding privileges suspended. In this event, parents of the students involved will be responsible for seeing that their children get to and from school safely.
However, when the parent present asked how many chances a child receives before the above disciplinary action is taken – Fischer said that as of now there is not a specific number of complaints before a student loses the privilege of riding the school bus.
“There’s been a lot of work done. We get daily reports now. I have some teachers involved working with students in the school. There have been consequences every time we are notified of something that has happened on the bus,” said West Principal Vicki Begin. “We can never communicate back to other parents what’s happened with those students we’ve addressed for poor behavior. We have had a big decrease (in incidents) over the past few weeks.”
Last year the conduct was so bad the district had to have two different buses for the same route so the kids causing trouble were separated from the other students. The turn over for bus drivers on that particular route has been constant. This year, they have hired two bus drivers to be on the same bus; one to drive, and one to supervise and help curb bad behavior.
The mother attending the meeting said she was grateful for the two drivers, it has helped even though there had been another episode that day. They buy coloring books and crayons out of their own pocket to help keep the children occupied, keep the peace and make it safe to ride the bus. She also mentioned that after she complained about a particular student’s bad language to the Bus Garage, the mother came to her home to threaten her and frightened her daughters. The School Board encouraged her to call the police if it happened again.

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