Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $539,938)
This project seeks to train school personnel and educate students with a focus on bullying prevention, threat assessment and crisis intervention specifically for students in rural school districts of Southern Illinois who ride the bus. We are partnering with the Jackson County Sheriff and propose to provide: 1) a structured school bus driver and monitor training workshop incorporating the curriculum and materials in a toolkit disseminated by the National Center for Safe and Supportive Learning Environments; and 2) a brief problem-solving and help-seeking intervention for students focused on how to respond effectively to bus related bullying and safety incidents. The toolkit is publicly available and was developed under funding provided by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) Office of Safe and Healthy Students (OSHS) and in partnership with the National Association for Pupil Transportation, and the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services. The student intervention is developed for this project and composed of a 20-minute presentation illustrating assertiveness, problem-solving, conflict resolution and help-seeking behaviors with video clips of skill usage on the bus. We are working with all four public school districts in Carbondale, IL, serving approximately 3000 students in grades K-12. We seek to assess the impact, utility, and need for modifications for the proposed interventions. Utilizing hierarchical linear modeling analyses, we expect to find that the combination of the proposed interventions will result in significantly fewer student and parent reports of bullying and official bus incidents reports for buses with drivers, monitors and students who participated in the interventions relative to baseline and relative to other buses. To support our sustainability plan we are incorporating a train-the-trainers model in the delivery of all interventions. If effective, we will work with the Regional Office of Education #30 and the State of Illinois to make these trainings available to all schools in our region.