With school shootings increasing over the past couple years, Indiana State Police and Hoosier schools are joining forces to to train those in the 'school transportation role' on how to react if something were to go wrong on a school bus. A conference was held Friday for the school transportation association, where they simulated an emergency school bus evacuation, as well as release of never-before-seen training videos created by the Indiana State Police.
"All this is about keeping our students safe, and that's what we want to do; that's our main focus," said Mike Menzel, president of the School Transportation Association of Indiana.
Friday's simulated emergency bus evacuation was a small part of this week's three-day school transportation conference. The event gave safety training to hundreds of school directors, bus drivers, and bus attendants. Menzel says the challenge, now, is for those in attendance to take back what they've learned to their own school corporations.
"Take the information, get it out to the drivers and the attendants that could not make it, and teach them and bring them up to date with all the law changes and training opportunities to make sure that we can do and continue to do the best job we can to help provide safe transportation for our students in the state of Indiana," said Menzel.
Indiana State Police were at the conference to support the School Transportation Association of Indiana, as well as release training videos that they prepared.
"Training videos created by the Indiana State Police are the first of their kind in the nation- setting a standard for safety in the Hoosier state," said Menzel. "This is a focus on what could happen if someone boarded a bus and was a terrorist who was armed, and what we would do to respond to that. It's never happened on a school bus, what are we gonna do if it does happen on a school bus?"
Chris Katch, with the Indiana State Police, helped create the department's training videos. "We put together these videos to show drivers that they do have options, and to start thinking about it now before it actually happens so that they can be ahead of the game and reduce injuries and fatalities to their students and themselves."
Indiana State Police inspect every school bus in Indiana once a year. That's more than 16,000 school buses. Currently, the state requires two mandated bus evacuations every year at every school corporation. Videos released Friday will soon be available on the Indiana State Police website for continued training purposes.
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