Bullying Bus Drivers: Viral YouTube Video Inspires Local Schools


By Heather VacLav

The first face many students see on the first day of school is not their teacher, but their bus driver. As schools prepare to return to class in a few weeks, some local schools are using a viral video as inspiration to prevent bullying on the bus
In June a video went viral showing middle school students yelling vicious words to a bus monitor in New York. CBS-8 showed the unedited version of the video to a veteran bus driver, and she was appalled.
”They shouldn't be riding the bus, that is a privilege,” Jimmie-Lee Crowe of Wetumpka said shaking her head in disbelief.
Crowe has been driving school buses in Elmore County for 17 years and she says she has been bullied a few times by students before, but never like the woman in the YouTube video.
“It does take a special person to drive a school bus, but it takes an extra special person to be able to handle something like that and to handle it like she did,” Crowe said.
Crowe's boss, Dr. Robert Slater, the Transportation Supervisor for Elmore County Schools, says he trains his drivers on how to handle kids acting up on the bus, but will now add more training based upon the bus monitor being bullied in the video.
“Students in this day in age, and the respect they show towards authority figures or adults, its different than when I was in school,” Slater said.
Crowe believes the video surveillance on the bus helps keep kids in line. “ Whenever the bus is rolling and they're cutting up, I just have to point up to it and they go, 'is that on' and I say 'yeah, I don’t know, lets see if its on or not,' it kinda’ tests them,” Crowe said.
Most of Elmore County's buses have two to four cameras, watching students every move.
Slater said the kids behavior all begins with the parents. “They need to play a big part in bringing those children up,” he said. “So when they start school they educate them about the bus and respect for adults, the driver or the bus aide that’s on that school bus.”
Next week, Elmore County bus drivers will start their yearly training. Dr. Slater says he hopes to add the bus bullying training after the school year begins.
The woman from the YouTube video, 68-year old Karen Klein, her tormenters apologized and a fundraising website gave her more than $750,000 to retire and go on vacation
Click here for the link to watch full video: Warning: Video contains very graphic language

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