Fairborn bus drivers train for the worst

Fairborn school bus drivers were in the classroom Friday with SWAT trainers, learning how to keep students safe from potential threats when they are on the road.

Representatives of the North American SWAT Training Association worked with Fairborn City Schools bus drivers, noting that drivers often are alone with dozens of students and could face threats from the outside world. Teachers and administrators have a school full of others who can help in an emergency, the training noted.

“We talk about the bus drivers and the unique situation they have as far as safety,” said James Scanlon, co-owner of NASTA. “It’s a little different than the educators in our schools. They have the kids alone. They have a route that they have to go on.”

Schools have plenty of training opportunities to help keep the students safe, but bus drivers have been overlooked, he said.

“We spent several months coming up with a program that would address specific needs in buses,” Scanlon said.

NASTA representatives taught drivers how to handle dangerous situations they might see during their daily drives.

“I just hope to be better prepared. I think being better prepared in any situation and having the knowledge of what to do, if something were to happen,” said bus driver Hazel Everettes.

Bus driver Judy Bowman said she has had angry parents board her bus and make threats to her and the students riding.

“It does make you feel you have to protect those kids,” Bowman said. “You do go into mother instinct because they’re your kids once they’re on your bus.”

NASTA evaluates situations bus drivers have encountered and teaches them how they can handle potential threats before they happen.

Scanlon mentioned crimes, terrorist threats and non-custodial parents are situations most seen by bus drivers. The training offer tactics and tools to address certain situations.

For example, “situational awareness that can help them identify a problem before they pull up on it,” Scanlon said.

Several bus drivers said they plan to use the tools that they learned on Friday immediately.

News Center 7’s Kayla Courvell contributed to this article.

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