Students at Deephaven Elementary School participated in the most recent “Peaceful Bus” event last month. The goal of the school-wide meeting, involving teachers, staff and bus drivers in addition to students, is to foster a kind and respectful environment on school buses. Courtney Loynachan, one of the teachers at Deephaven Elementary who helped to coordinate the event, shared about the impact of the Peaceful Bus program.
“Peaceful Bus is a program designed for the whole school to meet in their bus groups with the purpose of creating community and respect between bus drivers and students,” she said.
Each meeting is centered around a unique lesson plan, with students and staff collaborating to reach a satisfactory conclusion. Loynachan shared, “The second meeting, this week, is about brainstorming problems that are happening on the bus and producing solutions together. It is wonderful to have bus driver input while they discuss the problems and to watch them implement their solutions the following week.”
Teachers, staff and bus drivers worked together to lead groups of up to 60 students, partnering older students with younger ones to help establish positive mentoring relationships. The students introduced themselves to get to know each other, and also had the opportunity to learn more about the bus driver, overall creating a fun and familiar environment.
By participating in the Peaceful Bus meetings, students can form new connections with those in their bus groups. The interactive activities and the positive tone maintained by the lessons allow for a greater sense of community and friendship to develop among students, while the lessons themselves raise student awareness of bullying and other inappropriate behaviors on the school bus and students’ role in preventing it from happening. The program encourages students to take what they have learned during the meeting and make an effort to build a kind environment for all, both on their school buses and in other areas of their lives.