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Only school employees can board Madison County buses

Published 12:14pm Thursday, February 7, 2013

MADISON COUNTY — Safety concerns moved from the classroom to a school bus after the abduction of six-year-old Ethan in Midland City. Bus drivers for Madison County Schools receive training that hopefully avoids similar scenarios.

The primary objective “for our students is safety from the time they board the bus and get home … or get to school. Safety is our number one concern,” Geraldine Tibbs said. Tibbs works as public relations director for Madison County Schools.

Daniel Lee Evans, county transportation director, said the responsibility for the child never leaves the principal as part of overall supervision. “The bus driver does assume supervision (when) the child boards the bus and the bus physically leaves the campus,” he said.

“All buses are monitored from the transportation department via radio on a daily basis,” Evans said. Bus drivers report behavior problems to principals who later resolve the issue.

Daily, Madison County Schools operates 218 buses and transports approximately 11,000 students in routes that cover more than 12,000 miles.

Before transporting students, bus drivers receive specific training at both the local and state levels and are required to pass a commercial driver’s license test and prove driving proficiency.

“Drivers are re-certified each year through state training, along with four days of local training each year in professional development,” Tibbs said.

Bus drivers only allow school personnel to board. “Anybody else won’t be allowed on,” Evans said. Bus drivers are trained to only open the door for loading and unloading students.  “Anytime they feel their bus is threatened, they’re instructed to not open the door, leave the area and call for help on the radio.”

“Bus drivers deserve and expect students to follow rules and not be a distraction,” Evans said. “Students should expect a safe ride home free of any danger and know they’re protected as best as possible by a well trained driver.”

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