Pause with us for a moment to reflect on 2020 and 2021. Pause to reflect on what has transpired in our nation and our schools and on our school buses. Pause to reflect on what we have accomplished in these months of change and disruption. Pause to consider what the next twelve months will bring with or without COVID issues. And join us in resolving to carry on certain professional activities that will serve us and our safety mission well.
Whereas the role of school transportation in our nation’s schools is crucial to the education of our children; and
Whereas the management of school transportation services is a complex logistical undertaking requiring the smart and efficient integration of vehicles, personnel, school procedures, diverse child and parent needs, highway safety laws, school finances, and local policies; and
Whereas recent social and public health developments and crises have increased the burdens imposed on school transportation managers and professionals; and
Whereas school transportation professionals seek to continuously improve their operations, safety records, services, and support for their student riders,
NOW THEREFORE as we close out 2021 and approach 2022, BE IT RESOLVED:
That despite the pressures of a driver shortage, the need for efficiencies, and changing demands from students and schools, we will not compromise or abridge school bus and child safety. Safety for our children is now and will always remain mission #1.
That, in the coming year, we recall our words acclaiming the value of our school bus drivers during the pandemic, and we will act accordingly in the coming year. Shortages of any commodity make things more valuable and precious. Our attitudes about and actions toward our drivers and other members of our safety teams will reflect their intrinsic value to our operations.
That, to perform at our highest levels and with exceptional quality for the children, we will devote meaningful time from our days to learn, to grow and to participate in educational and developmental activities. Such activities are vital to our position as education professionals who provide transportation services, and we commit ourselves to their pursuit.
That, aware of the many changes emerging societally and educationally, as well as in safety equipment and technology, we will strive to be informed, aware and conversant with the many new directions that will affect our work for the children. Change comes in many shapes and from many directions and it is a challenge for us to follow it all. Working together collaboratively makes the challenge less daunting.
That, cognizant that our student riders have encountered challenges and obstacles to their learning and their development, we will take extra steps to understand those situations, to prepare our drivers to be sensitive and responsive and to provide an environment of support for children in need of that support and compassion.
That, amid all we must do as professionals, we will speak out as advocates for school bus safety and for the needs of our safety teams to get the job done. Whether our voices are needed at school board meetings, state, or federal legislatures or in the community, we recognize the importance of exercising them in the interests of safety and of the profession in which we are engaged.
That we will continue to be forthright with school policymakers about the needs we have for ensuring safe rides for our students. It is easier sometimes to not make waves, but the cause of safety requires us to take those moments that present themselves to present what we believe to be the right thing. We will work hard to be ‘in the room’ with school leaders and to use those moments wisely.
That, understanding the stresses of the job and the significance of our work on children’s education, we will endeavor to monitor and manage our own health and well-being. Our teams and colleagues need us to be healthy and thriving to help them all navigate the demands of transporting children safely to school and home. We will make our physical, mental, and emotional health a priority for our teams, our families and ourselves.
That, regardless of the myriad things that can and do go wrong or not according to the plan, we will remember that our safety record is one that is admirable and exemplary. It is often easy to get caught up in what did not go well but it is invaluable to stop for a moment and revel in what we did do well and what we did succeed in accomplishing and how safely we transported more than 25 million children to and from school every day of the school year.
We have an awful lot to do in school transportation and an awful lot to be proud of. Let us end the year recognizing what we have accomplished despite the many hurdles in our path, and let us begin the next year hopeful and energized to do even greater things…for our children.
Peter Mannella (email@example.com) is chair of the NAPT Public Policy Committee.