BUT commends “positive impact” of new bussing system

BUT commends “positive impact” of new bussing system

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Bahamas Union of Teachers president Belinda Wilson praised the new bussing system employed to deter after-school violence stating that there has been a positive outcome so far.

“To my knowledge thus far, it has reduced or curbed incidents of fights, violence, and other deviant behaviors,” Wilson said.

Officials announced a new public-school bus scheme directed under the Royal Bahamas Police Force with aims to tackle after-school fights among junior and senior high schools in 15 schools. In The Bahamas, school violence has been a national issue with gang violence being high on the list for those who partnered in the preventative initiative.

Wilson also suggested that the system be extended to other schools, but should be monitored to ensure the standards are upheld.

“We have also asked the police to ensure that the drivers are vetted and are responsible individuals who will keep their integrity and keep the lines between themselves and the students,” a statement from Wilson read.

Rudolph Taylor, president of the Bahamas Unified Bus Driver’s Union, said that the initiative is panning out to be a success.

When asked how the bus association has been handling the load of students within the program, he stated that: “It’s a big volume of kids and we don’t want to leave the public without transportation.”

Since the partnership, the union has had to find a balance between providing assistance for the students and the general public simultaneously, as the partnership is not a government-funded operation.

The union’s president continued: “It’s headed in the right direction, but people have a way of being disparaging. They forget that the chauffeurs have bills and there are many of us who look at it as a profession.”

According to the program’s director, Chief Superintendent Chaswell Hanna, a significant number of fights occurred while students were in transit to the bus stop or while they were waiting for the bus.

“All we’re doing essentially is bringing the bus stop on the school campus. So, they can avoid getting into incidents walking to the bus stop or waiting at a bus stop”, he said.

Although he declined to share data with Eyewitness News, Hanna revealed that adjustments were made to the program due to the number of students in need of assistance.

“At the end of the school semester, we’re going to give a full report on the impact the program has had on these school incidents,” Hanna confirmed.