Riding the bus to Oxbow Creek Elementary School this past school year was safer and more fun for most students. Thanks to a new Bully-Free Bus program initiated by assistant principal Tracee Cahalan, students engaged in the year-long program designed to keep students safe and to take responsibility for keeping their busses bully-free.
Cahalan said she wanted to do something about bullying incidents on the busses that she would hear about from time to time. The Bully-Free Bus program was introduced in the beginning of the school year along with the bus safety curriculum. Students were reminded that riding the bus is a privilege and given pencils with the motto, “Bully free starts with me,” if they pledged to refrain from bullying and to stand up for others if they witnessed bullying happen on the bus.
Bus drivers posted signs in their bus reminding students that busses are a “Bully-Free Zone.”
Since each school bus is equipped with video monitoring equipment, Cahalan said she could review the tapes and award “brag tags” to the students on a bus that were following the bully-free code.
The goal was to get every student to earn a brag tag by the end of the school year. Many students proudly display their brag tag on their backpack which serves as another reminder to keep the school bully-free..
“It’s been very positive,” said Andy Hassis, an Oxbow Creek Elementary School bus driver for four years. “It’s good but you have to all work together to keep it going.”
Kevin Hillman, an administrative intern at Oxbow Creek who has been working with the program since December said they have had very few incident reports this year.
Based on the programs popularity with students and its positive effect, the school plans to continue the program into next year.
Contact Mindy Mateuszczyk at [email protected]