Shelby County bus drivers recently attended professional development training in order to better prepare them, and hopefully prevent, intruder or active shooter situations from occurring on their buses.
The training was led by Gary Moore, safety coordinator for the Missouri School Board Association’s Center for Education Safety. Moore created the training by applying knowledge learned during his 34 years in law enforcement (29 as a member of the Missouri Highway Patrol) to school bus safety. He also worked closely with the sheriff’s department in Dale County, Ala., to piece together the specifics of the January 29, 2013 incident in Midland City where a bus driver was killed and a young student was taken as a hostage and held in an underground bunker.
Moore used information learned from that incident to develop bus safety training, which emphasizes situational awareness and communication skills. For the situation awareness piece, Moore focuses on paying attention to surroundings and specifically looking for anything that “Just Doesn’t Look Right” or JDLR for short. Moore encouraged drivers to keep driving if they see something or someone who looks outside of the range of normal and then to report it.
In addition to the JDLR situational awareness, Moore also focused on the importance of good communication, specifically as it pertains to defusing confrontational situations with angry individuals.
Transportation Supervisor Brent Copes said that he and Transportation Coordinator Rick Vines meet with a driver committee consisting of representation from all of the Shelby County school zones to develop a professional development plan for the school year. Shelby County drivers requested training on intruders, but it was difficult to find a local expert.
“We heard Gary Moore speak at the Alabama School Transportation Association Conference in June 2018,” said Copes. “Rick and I knew that this was the expert that we have been looking for. We hope this is information that our drivers will never have to use but this is good to know just in case it is needed.”