I had a couple of questions during the break that I wanted to address real quick. And a couple of comments. One of the questions was about the hostage situation on a bus. They asked “You know, can we, should we, like maybe throw the keys out or get the bus stuck or something. Like we said, buses are fortresses and if they’re moving, they’re extremely difficult for us to deal with and work with. If you can gently put the bus in a hard spot that’s great. If you can throw the keys out the window, that’s great. If you can make it immobile, that helps law enforcement out immensely. It’s much easier for us to deal with the static situation rather than one that’s moving down the road at 40 miles an hour. The other question and comments that I was asked about is “How do I get somebody to talk and get them to calm down if they won’t talk”. Talk to them about anything”. It doesn’t have to be specifically about the rough day that they’re having” Why they have a knife on? You talk to them about anything” Talk to them about their shoes, talk to them about their backpack visit, with them. I had a gentleman – he was in his early 20s. He was on probation. I had him. He was a suspect in a variety of thefts that I was investigating. He was involved in some other criminal activity. I suspected that he was on drugs. We were out as I was at his apartment with this probation officer, and he was not at all cooperative with us, and he had a few fish hanging on the wall that he had caught. I started talking with him about his fish, and the animals that he had hanging on the wall. By the time the evening was done, I had a written confession from him and knew where my evidence was, just by talking about the fish. Oddly enough,” this one’s taken me by surprise. One of the biggest icebreakers that I have at being in Bonneville High School is the watch that I wear. I found me a neat looking watch. It’s a G-shock, I found on eBay ordered it, and I have kid after kid, “Oh Deputy Sperry, I love your watch. That so awesome. I’m going to get me one some day. For some reason, my little black and purple and blue watch that I wear is a huge ice breaker. Just find anything to talk to them about. The next part that we’re going to talk about is student Management. Massive portions of your job is dealing with kids but in order to know how to manage, you need to know what you’re managing. Let’s talk about the kids that are in our schools. Keep in Mind please, I have been in the little schools that have the graduating class of five, the second-grade class of three students, all the way up to the freshman class of more than four hundred. What I say here is stuff that I’ve experienced in all the schools. We will go in a little bit more detail. There’s more specifics here in a minute. I think the coolest high school I have ever seen is. This high school is at Oberon Oregon, right there on the coast. The stadium is built into the end of the ravine there. I just I had to put that picture in there because I can. I was watching a movie and this high school was on it. I’m like “is that real?” “Where is that?” I did some research and, yeah it’s just over there in Oregon. As this students” appearance demonstrates, having relaxed policy about dress makes it easy for a student to conceal a weapon, and makes it difficult to identify intruders on campus. A dress code can reduce weapons violations, relieve tensions between gangs, reduce disciplinary infractions, and generally improve the atmosphere of the school. Our policy requires that students tuck in their shirt making the belt line visible at all times. Our students may not wear baggy pants or colors and insignias that are commonly associated with gang activity. This policy was a collaborative effort between the parents, teachers, and administrators in this community. He’s not dressed wearing excessively baggy clothes. He’s dressed like a normal student, and look, what he was able to conceal There have been 34 school shootings in K-12 schools in the last 20 months, almost two school shootings per month over the last 20 months. Some of the contraband that I’ve taken from students. The usual” cigarettes, tobacco, can of chew. You got the marijuana pipe right there, a bag of pills. Obviously, they weren’t prescribed to him. A couple of electronic cigarettes here, and this here’s a bag of Marijuana. On two different occasions, I have taken marijuana from fifth graders. These fifth graders are bringing their mom and dad’s weed to school. If you saw a kid with one of these, would you think
anything about it? It looks like a pen. You can buy a pack of these” Bic pens that look like these at Walmart. Here in the next couple of weeks, you are getting ready for school” but these are actually electronic cigarettes. They’re disposable cigarettes they could smoke in your bus. It emits a vapor there’s very low odor too. It does not smell like a normal cigarette. They can blow the vapor onto the floor. They can be sitting in the seat immediately behind you and you’re not realizing that they are smoking. These are little bit fancier. The two over here are refillable. This is the oil that they put in those. That oil there – it has a strawberry flavor to it and so there is a very faint strawberry smell when they use the the vape pen. Pretty decent sized knife, and a pack of cigarettes. It’s about an 8 inch knife. This here is a vial of hallucinogenic mushrooms. The knife is about 11 inches long. The kid was actually using the mushrooms during school. He would chow down on them and snack on them, and was actively hallucinating through class and having hallucinations, armed with a knife. Thankfully he was having happy hallucinations. I take him to the hospital. Obviously, he’s got illegal drugs in his possession, and a weapon. So he goes for a ride with me, and we have to stop up the hospital because I have to get a medical clearance, and the doctors visiting with him. Are you having hallucinations right Now? Yes. Are you seeing things or hearing things? Both. So, hallucinating in class while armed. Look at the clothing that your kids are wearing on your bus. If you don’t recognize the logos on it, look into it a little bit. It will tell you a lot about them. All of these are references to marijuana use. 710 is oil, written upside down. Those vape pens” Those electronic cigarettes, you can go over to Washington or down to Colorado, and buy the oil to use in those. So instead of using a tobacco type substance, they are using now using marijuana on your bus. Extremely low odor, and they’re getting stoned on your bus. Dab city refers to a newer trend of using Marijuana. They refined it – marijuana using butane lighter fluid and they process it a little bit, and they take just a small amount out. They superheat a glass pipe, put it in there. It vaporizes just a little. The stuff looks like earwax”so think about a little bit of earwax on the end of your q-tip. This is the quantity that they’re using, and that they’re taking the hit off of that. The Dab City, the Nailed it” they both refer to dabbing and that’s how they used get high. Back in the 60ies, the THC concentration was about 60%. I’m sorry” 10 to 15% when you would smoke a joint” the THC concentration was 10 to 15%. Today, when they’re dabbing the more refined stuff, they’re getting as high as 90% concentration. So, the one hit, whether they’ve nailed it or they’re dabbing, it is equal to smoking a whole bag back in the day” So they’re ingesting massive quantities” April 20th” Again, Marijuana references” nailed it… Keep Calm and keep dabbing, Puff it. Look at the clothing that your kids are wearing and do some research on it, and see what they’re into. It’ll tell a lot about what’s going on in their lives and their thought process. Just research it. Gangs, unfortunately, we do have gangs in Idaho. The school in Wyoming where I was a deputy at, about 30% of our population came off the reservation. They worked very hard to keep gangs out off the school. I’m coming off the reservation. Bonneville County, Idaho Falls School District, we worked very hard to keep gangs out of our schools. I know that there in other parts of the state. Surenos are pretty predominant on the Eastern side of the state. Mister annulus” the number 13, the color blue” all those are most often associated with those. The color red and the number 14 symbols – similar to that – are often associated with the with the Bloods. There’s the Nampa Norte”os. Nampa has a gang issue. Caldwell has a gang issue. I’m sure here in Blackfoot, they work to keep gangs out of your school. It’s easier to keep a gang out of your school than trying to reclaim it. Anybody guess what that might be associated with? It’s Aryan Nation. I’ve heard rumors that we’ve got some extremists here in Idaho and I do know for certain of kids. I can name kids that I’ve dealt with that are in white supremacy gangs. So we have that too, depending on what part of the state you’re in. We’re going to be addressing issues. It’s also a generational thing. Mom and dad may move in from another area. There are gang members and there that’s the social norm for their children. Or you may have a kid move in from another area from Nampa, Compton, Denver, to this area because they got in trouble there. And they figured moving the kid up here to Idaho with your grandma, grandfather now is going to suddenly change their ways, and become good kids, and leave their old lifestyle behind. No, they’re bringing it with them. Sadly, our students are victims. Victims of child abuse, neglect, and abandonment. In Colorado, there was a young man that I knew. He was in the fifth grade when his parents decided to pack up and leave him behind. It just broke my heart, I’m like, man what kind of struggles is that little guy having, that your own parents are willing to just say I’m through with you. Sexual abuse – two of my largest cases that I’ve initiated, that have started with kids are somehow sex related. Have they witnessed murders? Last school year, I was working with a young man at one of our elementary schools. His family had fled for Mexico and they”re now living in Idaho Falls. This little guy’s dad was brutally murdered at his house and, I believe, witnessed by the majority of the family. I don’t know if this little guy witnessed it or not, but every time somebody came to their house in Idaho Falls, they were worried that it was the gang in Mexico that killed his dad” That they were up in Idaho now to kill the rest of his family. Some of these kids have witnessed murders. Some of these kids have had family members murdered. Maybe they have family members in prison or have been victims of child pornography. These kids are future doctors as well, they are future bus drivers, teachers, police officers, parents. They’re going to be taking care of us when we’re in nursing homes. We need to take good care of these kids. We’re contact with lots of kids. You guys visit with kids every single day. And these kids, some of them are living the most horrific nightmares that we could ever imagine. They have seen things that we cannot imagine, and yet think we put them on our bus and transport them to school so that they can carry on with life. We don’t know what kind of skeletons they have in a closet so how are we going to manage these kids? We’ve got all sorts of kids. We’ve got the kids who have the dream house. They have wonderful parents. They don’t have to worry about where their next meal is coming from. They got a nice meal every evening. They got a nice bed. They don’t share a house with 17 other people. They have their own bedroom – all the way up to the people, you know, the kid who has witnessed his dad being murdered. How do we deal with them? We’re going to treat them like dogs. Anybody ever watched Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer? I love watching him. I love reading his books. If you guys want some good books on how to deal with people and how to work with people, read his books on dog training. Extremely informative, very educational. I’ve read a few of his books. I love watching it, shows the stuff that I’ve learned from him works great on people. It works on my dog sometimes, too. Season one, he wants you to know” He says be the pack leader. You guys need to be the pack leader of your bus. You are in charge of your bus. You’re the pack leader of your bus. Be in charge. To do That, we need you to be calm and assertive. We need you to remain calm. Even when you got situation on your bus” So, you have somebody climbing on your bus trying to take you as a hostage or kidnap some of your kids. We need you to stay calm if the weather is bad and the roads are icy. We need you to remain calm. Panicking while you’re driving is not a good combination. We also need to set boundaries, and limitations for a kid. Set clear and well-defined rules for your kids. They’re flooded with rules every day as soon as they climb out of bed. You got to get dressed. You can’t wear this to school. You got it have this for breakfast. You’ve got it comb your hair, brush your teeth. Do all this. Then they go, get on the bus. You got to be quiet when you cross river crossings. You can’t do this, can’t do that. Then they get to school. Don’t talk” and you can’t go to the bathroom without permission”. on and on and on. Set your rules. Make them well defined rules, well-defined boundaries. Teachers are often encouraged to post their five most important rules or their most frequent rules that are broken in their classrooms. Do you guys have rules on your bus? Right, they’re posted. They are about a half by an inch tall, on a little plaque at the very front of the bus that, unless you’re sitting like in the very first row, you can’t see what any of the rules are. Make them big and colorful. Think about an elementary classroom. When they have the alphabet above the whiteboard” Is the alphabet written 1/2 inch tall in really boring text or is it nice and bright and big and colorful? Make it big and colorful. Post it down the side of your bus, above your windows. Put your five rules that you kind of struggle with. If a student violates the rule, the bus driver” all you need to do is point to the rule. Certain rules are always a given. For instance, the railroad crossing is one that I keep going back to. I learned that in Kindergarten, all kids learn that in Kindergarten, and that’s one that’s been consistent all the way through. Are the rules consistent for bus to bus, route to route, driver to driver? Make sure you give them the right finger when you’re pointing to the rule that they’re violating. So, hey Johnny, hey Johnny, you know that’s way you can remain calm. You don’t need to “hey Johnny I’ve told you 400 times you need to stay seated. You just need to sit down or I’m going to move you to the front. You just go” Johnny. Sometimes less is best. Suppose, your top 5 rules” What are some of the most frequent violations that you guys deal with? Stay seated, yeah. Hands to yourself. Stay seated. So this is presentation number 3 that I’ve done. Stay seated as a number 1. That’s been said every single time. Stay in your seat. Make that really big on your on your bus. Stay seated. Another one that I keep hearing is “keep your hands to yourself”. Does anybody allow food on their bus? No, no food on your bus. How many people in here have something other than water? We did a little experiment this morning, too. We taped off some areas to try, and guide people where to sit. We got probably 200 seats down here now, maybe 150 down here in the front. How many people are sitting in an area that was taped off this morning? Post your top five rules where they’re clear and out there for people to see, so these kids can see them. Sometimes you’ve got to give them some explaining. I would be willing to bet that if myself or any of the other people who helped host this, who helped put this conference on” if we were up there” Hey, we’re trying to get everybody up in the front here. Please move forward, please move forward” Nobody would have taken down any of the yellow tape until this was completely packed full, but I think that there’s more empty seats here than there are back there. Put your rules out there and work with them on that. you’ve got to teach these kids because some of these kids need to be taught something 174 times before they learn it. So, let’s say, you teach them once a day. You’ve got 180 days school year. Yeah, maybe in the last six days of school they get it. Which dog is you? Which dog is the kid on the bus? Who’s winning and what is being accomplished? Constantly yelling at the kids isn’t going to accomplish what we need done. We need to work with these kids and educate them like we did with the railroad crossing too, so that they understand why. To back up a little bit” the food issue some of you guys” some of the districts may say “no food on the bus”. My kids attended a district in Wyoming. We had a four-day school week Monday through Friday. Monday through Thursday was regular school. Friday, if we had a sports activity, that was the travel day. If the kids needed any remedial, they could go to school on Friday. The bus routes ran. There were some limited bus routes. If they went to and from a Friday activity, their bus driver would stop at a convenience store and buy every single one of them a soda and a candy bar on the way home. Are your rules on your bus different than other buses? Do you have consistency throughout the district and throughout the bus drivers? Are you teaching your kids on your bus” Yeah, I don’t mind if you eat. Just keep the mess clean. This bus driver did not have an issue with messes on his bus. He set the boundaries and limitation. I will give you a snack. I’ll hook you up. But you keep my bus clean. Those kids took care of that bus. He didn’t spend a lot of time cleaning his bus. Are you allowing your students to do one thing that another bus driver doesn’t allow? As they maybe go on an activity or they go on a different route or you have a substitute driver” Are you creating a monster for that other driver? So consistency in your rules as well. Again, I keep hitting this” stay calm, stay calm, stay calm” Flying off the handle” You’re not going to accomplish much with these kids. They’re pretty on top of it. Be assertive. Don’t be”(soft voice, mumbling”) Tell them – hey, you need to stop that now. It’s unacceptable. You need to keep your hands to yourself. You can be polite. You can be assertive. You can get the point across without having to yell and scream at them. If you yell and scream at them, they’re going to shut down. Know your passengers. I know some of you guys on the more rural routes to have a smaller routes. You can get to know your kids. It’s easier. Some of you guys who have the larger routes. Some of you carry maybe hundreds of kids a day. It’s difficult to learn your students but do what you can to learn the names of your students. Be familiar with them. Recognize who is riding your bus. I’m sure most of the buses have some sort of manifest who’s allowed on the bus and who gets picked up where. Be familiar with that. Be familiar with the names on your manifest. Build a rapport with your students. Talk to them. Build some sort of a relationship with them. Compliment them. My oldest son, when he was in the fourth grade, had a bus driver that liked to make fun of his shoes. My son would come home extremely sad and upset and just really frustrated at the bus driver. “He’s making fun of my shoes”. These were his favorite shoes. These are my are most comfortable shoes. I love these shoes. Why? You know. But he tells me” he makes fun of me about my shoes. I thought what is this bus driver trying to accomplish? Why is he turning down a ten-year-old and make a ten-year-old self-conscious about his shoes? What if that’s their only shoes that they have? Instead of making fun of something, compliment something. Hey, did you get a haircut? Your hair looks great today” even if they didn’t get a haircut. Do anything to build these kids up. Build them up. We don’t know what skeletons they’re dealing with. Build them up. Hey, that’s a cool backpack. Do you like The Avengers? Do you like my little pony? I like that.. Would you tell me about that? Hey, what’s on your shirt? I’ve never seen that shirt before. What does dabbing mean? Talk to them. It’s okay to play stupid every now and then. I’ll do it with the kids that come to my office or that I’m visiting. Hey, what’s your shirt mean? I’ll know exactly what it means but I want to see how honest they’re being with me. Be respectful to them. You may be one of the few people in their lives that shows them any respect. They may go home and get raped by a family member in their house. They may not get along with their teacher, and so every day it’s a nightmare for them going to the class because a teacher can’t stand him. He may go home, and go hungry. They may be living a nightmare, so be respectful to them. Teachers, kids who have the parents there, their students respect have fewer discipline issues. If your students respect, you are going to have fewer discipline issues, and if a student does require some sort of discipline, the discipline will likely be less, and better accepted and most likely resolve the issue. Know who’s riding your bus. If you don’t recognize them talk to them. We had an issue last year where a young lady would get off the bus and she was extremely upset. She was being severely harassed on the bus and she would go home and talk to her dad and her dad was upset. The dad talked to the school district and it eventually found its way to my desk. By working with our transportation department, and the bus driver, we were able to determine who the boys were involved that were harassing this lovely girl. They were high school boys, and we started doing a little bit of checking, and they were giving the bus driver false names. So these names that they were giving wouldn’t even been on the manifest, and then we started looking and they didn’t even belong on the bus that they were on. So we worked with the bus driver, provided him pictures and the actual names of these boys and we talked with the boys and told them that they were not allowed on this bus anymore. They tried it a couple more times and got kicked off promptly but our problem was resolved. Know who’s on your bus. One of the kids, I could understand a little bit why he was riding the bus. He claimed that the drop-off was actually closer to his house than the bus that he was supposed to ride. I could understand that one. The other one, he had no business being on the bus. He lived seven miles away from where the bus dropped off. He was going with his buddies and the two of them together would be causing significant issues on this bus. We addressed the issue. They no longer were allowed on this bus. That girl had her problems stopped. Make sure they belong on your bus, otherwise visit with them. There’s a lot of other reasons, too. There’s some safety and liability issues involved it as well. Numerous times throughout the year� I’m one of four school resource officers or juvenile detectives at the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office” and it’s not uncommon for us to get called about a” Usually, they’re younger” elementary kid who did not come home. So then we have to back up and” okay well, What bus did this child get on? What stop did this child get off at? So, if you’re giving kindergartners rides home to their friend’s house” where they’re not supposed to be” What’s going on here? There’s some liability issues with that, so make sure that you are transporting your students and only your students. Be familiar with your manifest and I know if you don’t” Especially at the high school level, you may have a kid that never rides, and then all the sudden his car breaks down, and so for a week that student has to ride and they’re not a regular rider. Or once every two or three months” They”ll be on the bus once to ride home from school. Visit with them. Find out who they are. Make sure that they belong on your bus. Again, back to the five truths that we’re talking about. These kids want to be treated with dignity and respect. They don’t want to be belittled all the time. They don’t want to be torn down all the time. These kids want to be asked to do rather than told what to do. Explain to them why. Most bus drivers don’t have an issue with the kids being quiet at the railroad crossing because the kids understand why that rule is there. Explain to them why your district does not allow food on the bus because of the mess and the possible choking hazard. Explain to them why. Explain to them why they’re not allowed to do cartwheels in the aisle as you’re driving on the Interstate. Some of these kids aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed. It might take some explaining. These kids they want a second chance. These kids need a second chance. Some of them need being taught 174 times before they get it and then they go on summer vacation and forget it. So we got to we teach them. You might be one of a few people to show these kids respect. You’re going to deal with 10% of the kids 90% of the time. You’re going to have a whole busload of kids and only 10% of them are going to be problem children. If you guys ever heard of the term elf? An elf is an evil little fart. I have to remind myself at the schools that I deal with that all the kids are not elves. There’s only a handful of kids that I deal with all the time. You’ve got a whole busload of great kids out there but you’ve got, you’ve got to address some issues with just a handful of them. In my law enforcement career, there are people in communities” I’ve learned in their name, security numbers, their telephone number, and their next of kin because I have put them in jail so many times. I’m sure that you guys have kids on your buses that are the same way” you’re just written them up so many times, you you got everything memorized, you’ve got their dad on speed dial. But don’t forget about all the other kids. You may not be able to win all the kids but if you can win the majority of them, they’re going to begin to take ownership on the bus and the environment is going to improve. Bonneville High School, we have a really neat program that the school district allows. If a kid comes to myself or one of the administrators and provides one of us information where we recover contraband such as a knife, a gun, drugs, tobacco, alcohol or information on an impending fight we give that kid a $50 reward. That kid stays anonymous. They’re not in any of my reports. They’re not in in any of the schools reports. They know they can come talk to me. This last school year, I gave away six hundred dollars to students at Bonneville because they have the trust in me that I’m not going to burn them and turn them into snitches. They come to me. My largest drug bust last year was” I got an ounce of weed off of a student and it was an anonymous tip. Almost every single one of those pieces of contra band I showed you” the pictures of came from student tips because they are taking ownership in their school. We want your kids to take ownership in the bus, to keep it a safe place and to keep it of a harmonious place. Being a pack leader sometimes is hart and it isn’t fun but in the long run it makes your life easier. Set those well-defined boundaries and limitations and make sure that they’re consistent. How frustrating would it be if the rules changed every day and you got in trouble because you followed yesterday’s rules and not today’s rules? Make your rules consistent and well-defined. Let them know what it is. Post them on your bus so that they’re in font larger than a half of an inch that’s posted right above your head. Treat them and treat your students with respect. I’m going to change gears right now. We’re going to talk about another topic that’s very dear to me. School bus safety is huge for me and some of you know me, know my history. This is my step daughter Mikayla. Mikayla was killed getting off of a school bus one evening. It was December 20th, 2011. It was the night before” it was a day before Christmas vacation. She calls her mom 4 o’clock in the afternoon, says” Mom, can I stay for the dance after school and catch the activity bus? The school district ran two afternoon routes. The regular afternoon route and then they ran a route later in the evenings for the kids who stayed for an after-school activity or sports or something, could catch the bus home. And she talked to my wife” “Yeah, you can you can stay for the dance after school. She was in the 6th grade” and she goes to the dance, has a good time and is dropped off in front of her house. We lived in a rural area. From the east, if you’re traveling east to west you would come up a hill. You plateaued the hill and it was pretty level for a little over a mile and a half. So you drive about a half mile to my house and you still had a mile of unobstructed highway in front. of me, in front of the Bus. So the bus driver stops. It’s a quarter to 7 o’clock at night, let’s my daughter off, she stops at the right shoulder like she’s always supposed to. It’s December 20th, shortest daylight day of the year so it’s plenty dark in the middle of the country at a quarter to seven tonight. Waves her across” the driver did not see the car that was traveling at 57 miles an hour towards them” car coming down straight towards the front of the bus, blows through the red lights, hits our daughter. We’re inside the house. We hear the accident. My wife, my kids, and I hear our 11 year old die. We go out there and the police come, doing their investigation. My wife and I are holding her hand. We can feel the heat leave her body as we sit there in the weeds holding her hand. We spend a couple of days before Christmas preparing for a funeral. We spend Christmas eve writing her eulogy. We go to trial. We go to trial for the stop arm violation that resulted in the death and he was convicted and was sentenced to 300 days in jail. During the trial, I’m talking with the bus driver and he says “I hope they release me soon. I don’t see well at night.” Makes me a little grumpy and we start looking into some things and it turns out that he had an eye condition that he’d been not dealing with for a few years and his vision was obstructed, about 50% of his vision, so the top half of his vision was obstructed. The only way he would have seen that vehicle coming down the road with his health condition was to tilt his head back and he was tired. He wasn’t familiar with this route. It was it was a substitute route for him. It wasn’t his usual route and he pulls up, lets her off. She goes off, waves her across not realizing that it’s not safe for her to even be off the bus. And there’s a lot of things that I look back as a parent and I am like I wish I would have done things different and one thing that I changed is where my kids are dropped off. I no longer allowed them to be dropped off on the highway. When the kids were going to school, the bus would pick them up right at the end of our driveway and they were not crossing the traffic. When they came home from school, they had to cross a 65 mile an hour two lane highway. I accepted that because that’s the way it was. That’s what the school district did. That’s what was accepted throughout the area. After she was killed, I tore down some fences, did some modifications to my yard and the bus was then able to fully pull onto my property and drop my kids off, of off the highway. The school district” We lived about five minutes from the end of the route and so the bus would go another five minutes turn around in the drive right back past my house. They did not want my children on the bus that extra ten minutes. That’s why they were crossing the road 65-mile an-hour-road at night. I challenge you to think about your routes. Can you eliminate left-hand drop-offs? You know, I get it. Having these kids on this bus” It’s difficult… Especially, when you’re talking 45, 55 minutes” they get tired but what is safer for them? Crossing the 65- mile-an-hour highway or spending an extra ten minutes with them? I also challenge you to look at your own self, and look at your own health. Are you healthy enough to be driving a bus? Do you have a health condition that you need to have looked at? A couple of months after my daughter was killed, the bus driver had this issue surgically corrected. Court records showed that this had been going on for five years. This was not something new that came on. This came on over a five year period and at the time of her death his vision was 50% impaired. Do you have to manipulate to pass your CDL health exam? Do you have to hold, squint your eyes just right or you know prop your eyelids open so that you can pass your health exam? If you’re experiencing a health issue, is it something that you can maybe take a brief break from bus driving to address for the safety of the kids? Are you changing your medication and need to take a brief break from bus driving so that you don’t drive them to Washington DC? Chapter 10… I’ve done a lot of study over the last few years after her death about the CDL manual and bus drivers… and what bus drivers are supposed to do. And interestingly enough, Chapter 10 of the CDL manual is the same from state to state. There are very few differences in every single state, and it provides guidelines for left-hand drop off. The guidelines laid out in every 50 states for a left-hand drop-off is that the kid is to wait at the right shoulder, there to be waved across by the bus driver after he makes after sure it’s clear. They’re supposed to stop at the left fender of the bus before proceeding the rest of the way. The bus driver is supposed to double check to make sure it’s clear again before waving them the rest of the way. My daughter’s bus driver didn’t do this. My daughter’s bus driver did not know that that was what is recommended in every single state in the United States for left-handed drop-off and it wasn’t done before he let kids off the bus. Make sure it’s clear before you waive them. Make sure it’s clear. Make them stop and and do that triple check before you send them the rest of the way. There were kids on the bus that night. My daughter was not the only one on the bus. There were two other young men on the bus who were at the middle school dance with her, and had danced with her, and they witnessed her death. There were other kids. They were other, younger, elementary-aged, that witnessed her death. And, so now all these kids have to deal with it. A couple of the kids were called into court to testify as to the bus drivers… actions. …What happened on the bus that night… So not only are these kids dealing with the death of a friend, the death of the of the girl that they danced with at their first dance but they’re dealing with all sorts of emotions. And then having go to court and the stress of going to court to testify. In Idaho, in 2012, 1,393 buses participated in a survey. In one day, there were 437 stop alarm violations. In 2014, about half as many buses, about half as many violations Statistics… it’s staying the same in Idaho. Wyoming… there were 309 violations in 2012. This year, of the most recent one that was done, this last spring. I don’t know how many buses participated in the survey but I guarantee it’s more than 1,100. They are down to 99 stop arm violations. A 60% decrease in stop are violations. Can you guys control the other drivers on the road? No. I tried to, I stopped them to write them tickets and then I stopped them again. I might have more tickets. We can’t control the other drivers. We do what we can to influence them. We do what we can. You know, we put our stop arms out to encourage them to stop but we can’t force them to stop. I write some speeding tickets to make them stop speeding. I write tickets to them when they do fly through the stop arm and they still do it. But you can control when and where that kid gets off the bus. You can control, and double check, and triple check, and make sure the deck that is clear for that kid to get off the bus. Wyoming’s got a little bit more money than us. We had the opportunity go down with Mikayla’s class and meet the governor as he signed in a new law that allows 5 million dollars to retrofit every bus in the state of Wyoming with exterior cameras. If the bus that my daughter was on had an exterior camera I would have video of her death. And it would do nothing to prevent her death. Bus drivers doing their job making sure that it’s safe for those kids. You guys are the ones who can prevent the deaths. You guys do a thankless job. You get up early in the morning to take people’s kids to school who are too busy themselves to worry about their kids Education. I want to thank you guys for what you do. I want to encourage you guys to have a great school year. Let’s show these kids some respect and make sure that you please keep them safe. This is my information again. Snap a picture with your smartphone and write it down… whatever… if you have questions email me, give me a call. So thank you for being here.