‘Stop Bullying – Think School Bus Safety’ is the theme for School Bus Safety Week, Oct. 16 – 22.
The Department of Education, New Brunswick Federation of Home & School Associations and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) are partnering to promote awareness of school bus safety issues, with the focus this year on bullying.
“Bullying is something that we cannot ignore,” Education Minister Madeleine DubÃ© said. “Every child has the right to feel safe at or on their way to school. Children who feel safe and secure will do better in school and will have a healthier perspective on life.”
“Bullying often begins on the school bus ride to and from school,” said Linda Bateman of the New Brunswick Federation of Home & School Associations. “This can cause the bus driver to be distracted which may affect safety on the school bus. Respect is the key to school bus safety: respect for each other, respect for the bus driver, and respect for the rules.”
“We’re all responsible for school bus safety,” said Sgt. Doug Lockhart of the RCMP’s Community Policing Section. “Bullying and school bus safety are two important parts of the RCMP’s National Youth Strategy. Students, parents, teachers, and the public must pay special attention to these two key issues.”
Parents, guardians and the pubic are encouraged to review the warning signs of being bullied as well as what they can do to help prevent bullying.
Warning signs are:
-Shows an abrupt lack of interest in school, or refuses to go to school or travel on the school bus.
-Has torn or missing clothing.
-Has physical injuries not consistent with explanation.
-Has stomach aches, headaches, panic attacks, is unable to sleep.
-Suffers a drop in grades.
Ways to help prevent bullying are:
-Be a good listener.
-Discuss bullying behaviour with your children – the different types: physical, verbal and social; and their effects.
-Work collaboratively with school personnel to address the problem.
-Be as vigilant about bullying prevention as you are about other safety concerns like street proofing and drug and alcohol use.
-Become active in your community schools.
In New Brunswick, nearly 1,100 school buses transport 90,000 children to and from school each day. The buses travel about 25 million kilometres per year.