For many schools, transporting people with disabilities by bus represents special challenges. Federal guidelines indicate that training and accommodations must be made for disabled students, which means training and proper procedure is required for everyone involved. Here are 5 tips for school administrators and other responsible parties when it comes to transporting disabled students, including safety methods, training procedures, and a number of excellent resources to draw on.
Ensure Training At Every Level
Make a checklist to ensure you are meeting all of your school's obligations under federal law regarding the transport of students with disabilities. You need to ensure bus drivers and attendants have the proper training regarding loading and unloading students, secure seating for these students, behavior management procedures, proper use of a child restraint gear, and of course emergency evacuation.
Safe transportation of students with disabilities to and from school is covered under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Create a Task Force That Involves All Parties
Protecting disabled students during bus transport involves plenty of stakeholders. Form a task force with transportation officials, traffic experts, school administrators, medical officials, and involved parents to ensure disabled students have all of their needs meet.
For example, this team could create a plan to reduce car traffic flow near the school in spots where disabled students are unloaded in the morning or loaded in the afternoon.
Use Available Resources
For training on how to use safety restraints on buses, the National Highway traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a guide online. The manufacturer of wheelchair lifts and ramps will often provide on-site training for this equipment, so be sure to take advantage. You should also contact with local special-education departments or even your own school's special-education department about how to properly manage student behavior during bus rides. It's all about leveraging the assets available to you.
Do Background Checks On Bus Drivers
Bus drivers who work with disabled students need special training and the right temperament for the job. Ensure you're doing the right background checks on these drivers to get the best results possible. If you're renting school buses, be sure to ask the company what kind of background checks it has for drivers and what kind of equipment they have for disabled students.
Involve Local Emergency Services
In the case that a bus needs to be evacuated, it's important that local fire departments and first responders know how to respond in an emergency. Get them involved with your evacuation training. For example, they may be unprepared on the proper way to remove a child who requires a wheelchair in the case of an accident.
Ultimately, if your school is transporting disabled students, not only will these tips make your kids safer, but they'll also help reduce liability issues that can cost a school big money in the event something goes wrong.
If you're looking to rent school buses, contact Woodlawn Motor or a similar company.