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Safety training for Hortonville School District bus drivers

OUTAGAMIE COUTY, Wis. (WFRV) - Hortonville School District bus drivers went back to class themselves today to learn new techniques to keep the kids they transport safe. As Local 5's Kris Schuller reports, it's a unique program for learning how to deal with incidents while out on the road.

On a back lot at Fox Valley Tech's Public Safety Training Center, Hortonville bus drivers deal with an uncooperative adult - trying to get on their bus.

“You are supposed to pick up my kids, but you’re not picking up my kids,” said a man playing the role of an angry parent to a bus driver.

But this is just training and that angry adult, a member of the Outagamie County Sheriff's Department. Running drivers through just one of many possible scenarios they might face and offering advice on how best to react.

“Getting that plan in place or the thoughts ahead of time, is really the goal,” said Sgt. Shawn Oligney of the Outagamie County Sheriff’s Department.

The training was designed by Fox Valley Tech and the sheriff's department - at the request of Hortonville's transportation director, who wants to keep the district’s 3,000 students and 80 bus drivers safe.

“Gives them an idea of what to do, because otherwise it was always up to them to decide what to do,” Harold Steenboch.

Steenboch says over the last few years there has been an increase in people trying to get on a bus. And that goes directly against district policy.

“Adults can't come on the bus,” said Sgt. Oligney.

So, deputies taught drivers how to deal with upset adults - by staying calm and remaining in control; those blocking a bus with their own vehicle and others looking to force their way on board

“If there is something bad going on outside of the bus we can't let it inside the bus,” said driver, Denise Delzer.

“Drivers love it -  it brings them an awareness they've never had before,” Steenboch said.

Awareness aimed at helping these drivers protect their precious cargo.

It is believed Hortonville is the only school district in the state offering this training for bus drivers.

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