Richmond Public Schools looking into additional safeguards - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Richmond Public Schools looking into additional safeguards

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Richmond Public School officials say they are now looking to put in additional safeguards and training sessions to increase safety among students and bus drivers.

A current job listing for a Richmond Public Schools bus operator shows you must have a high school diploma or a GED, at least three years of experience and the ability to assist children using patience and understanding.

It doesn't sound too hard, but NBC12's education specialist, Bill Bosher says it's extremely difficult to recruit school bus drivers.

"It's very challenging and the turnover is relatively great, It's rigorous in terms of you a get a criminal records check, you have to have a commercial drivers license and you have to have training in terms of how to work with young people and parents," said Bosher.

To better handle the job, the Virginia Department of Education provides and also requires training programs - but they are minimal. The program touches on various topics, including the driver's role and responsibilities, but now Richmond Public Schools said they're going to look into additional safeguards.

Bus drivers for Richmond Public Schools may soon be required to take more lessons on conflict resolution and behavioral management.

But the uncertainty remains - how will parents really know their kid's bus driver is reliable?

"What you don't know is to which the soft skills are applied. The training and working with other people, this is not just a mechanical thing, it's about relationships," said Bosher.

This may be a good time for parents to have a conversation with their kids about appropriate behavior while riding the school bus. Richmond Public Schools officials say they want to remind us that a school bus is an extension of their learning facilities - and safety is number one.

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