The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is using a recent U.S. Senate resolution recognizing September 2017 as School Bus Safety Month to promote “version 3.0” of its First Observer security awareness program.
Child Safety Network is partnering with TSA on a goal of 100-percent district participation nationwide in the latest version of in-person or online First Observer Plus training for school bus drivers as well as operators of all other surface transportation modes and infrastructure. The modules aide in identifying suspicious behavior, assessing the situation and reporting details to law enforcement authorities for investigation.
CSN is adding the training to its SafeBus program that provides districts with school bus safety technology free of charge in return for corporate sponsorship of buses as well as online school bus safety education for students, parents and school administrators.
“The new First Observer Plus program is one of the most effective tools we have in protecting students that ride the big yellow bus,” said Ward E. Leber, founder of the Child Safety Network. “The great news is that there is no cost to any of the nearly 15,000 school districts to receive TSA’s vital training.”
Senate Resolution 260 introduced by Sens. Corey Booker and Deborah Fischer and passed on Sept. 18 recognizes the school bus drivers who operate the estimated 500,000 school buses that transport more than 26 million students each school day. It also encourages broadcast and digital media as well as social networking sites to disseminate public service announcements make available school bus safety resources and recognize school bus drivers and student transportation professionals.
Leber said CSN will utilize celebrity spokespeople and national broadcasters to help disseminate news about free school bus security resources to students and their parents while TSA provides the no-cost training to student transporters.
The resolution also recognized school bus safety and security training materials already made available to more than 14,000 public and private school districts, as well as 80,000 school bus operators. TSA added that about 3,000 school districts nationwide are certified in First Observer or its predecessor Highway Watch.