Thursday, June 18, 2009

Talking (and Checking) Out Loud During the Post-Trip Inspection

By Peggy Burns

It’s said that some people dream in Technicolor; I think in “yellow.” The result is that I get inspiration about school transportation from strange places.

In the July 2008 “Better Homes and Gardens” magazine, an article entitled “Steer Them Straight” recommends ways to “teach seeing” to teenagers who are new drivers, learning to focus. The article references Dr. Susan Smith Kuczmarski’s recommendation in The Sacred Flight of the Teenager to have teenagers, “Say out loud what you see as you drive, and articulate what you do to drive safely.”

Why not adapt this excellent idea for school bus drivers as they do their post-trip inspections, looking for students who might otherwise be left behind? Tell them to say out loud such observations as “I’m passing row one and see no one on or under the seats. Now I’m passing row two. I’ve searched low under the seats in that row.” And so on.

Yes, it’s more tedious than the ever-changing landscape of the road. But I believe driver trainers and bus drivers can find creative ways to describe row by row, seat by seat explorations, as they search for precious cargo who might otherwise remain hidden.

Peggy Burns is an attorney/consultant with Education Compliance Group, Inc. Peggy can be reached at (888) 604-6141 and by email.

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