Last month, the ABC television news show "What Would You Do?" hosted by John Quinones featured a segment that depicted a mother who becomes so fed up with her quarreling daughters that she pulls over and tells the young children to walk home.
The scene played by actors mimics a real-life case a couple of years ago in nearby Westchester County, N.Y. In the first scenario, the mother is driving a "beat-up" economy car, is smoking a cigarette and is shabbily dressed.
Bystanders almost immediately come to the aid of the two girls and confront the mother. Some even call police.
The second scenario flips the script as the actor portrays a seemingly well-off mother who is dressed in nicer clothes, is wearing jewlrey and is driving an expensive SUV.
This time, few bystanders get involved ... except for a local school bus driver who stops to stay with the kids and to comfort them. And when the mother returns, the school bus driver Noran Hanson calmly listens to Mom as she voices her frustrations with her battling offspring. Hanson even takes the time to kindly council the mom. The scene goes to show how special school bus drivers truly are, especially when few others are willing to make a positive difference.
Check out the episode for yourself. Fast forward to the 15:42 mark on the video to see the entire segment (you'll meet the bus driver at the 26:55 mark).
The American School Bus Council has been making a much larger footprint of late with respect to public outreach, thanks in part to a NHTSA public outreach campaign initiated last fall to educate parents on the importance and benefits of school busing in America. ASBC even relaunched its website SchoolBusFacts.com this week, as we reported on STNOnline.
For those of you on YouTube, ASBC also launched its own channel this week, as ASBC said videos can be a useful tool for engaging those who may not know of the benefits of school bus ridership.
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) reportd that some U.S. senators are negotiating a House-Senate conference on the federal surface transportation bill. APTA is urging its members to reach out to the conferees from their respective states to insist on a bill that supports public transportation and a long-term stable funding source. The first meeting is scheduled for May 8.
The current 90-day extension of SAFETEA-LU, the last authorized extension of the law, runs through Sept. 30 of this year to keep federal funds flowing to states.
Some school bus contractors are not enamored with a new local mandate in Salisbury, Md., that school buses be equipped with GPS. In preparing an article for the June edition of School Transportation News magazine, writer Art Gissendaner came across the news. He says some student transporters think the GIS mapping aspect of the GPS reporting cuts their hours and profits.
This week, NSTA held its annual spring meeting and the newly renamed "Bus-In" in Washington, D.C., to lobby lawmakers and to receive updates from federal agencies such as NHTSA and EPA. The event included more than 130 congressional meetings with contractor members, a panel on the 2012 Presidential race and talks from a several of the nation's top transportation and environmental experts, including House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman John Mica.
There has been a lot of media coverage on the topic of autism, as April is National Autism Awareness Month. Check out our Special Needs Rides blog section next week, which will include information on the latest reports on autism, such as findings related to its root cause and experimental treatments.
There also were reports on children with autism and bullying. A new study found that kids with autism spectrum disorder may have a more difficult time dealing with bullying, and they are more likely than others to be bullied in their lifetimes, as reported in an April 24 article. What’s more disturbing is that these kids may be intentionally triggered into have meltdowns by bullies who know how to push the right buttons.
So, how can a family of an autistic child wrap their heads around this fact? What can they do? Well, they control their home environment, and that’s where they can utilize music as a coping mechanism as well as a way for their autistic child to express him or herself.
One example is Ethan W., a six-year-old whose family has uploaded videos of him on YouTube playing classic piano pop songs, including Billy Joel’s “Piano Man.” This particular video is one step away from going viral — producing 80,000 views in three days. What’s special about Ethan’s performances is that he is playing the song from memory.
There are other Ethan W. performances on YouTube, but we end this week’s blog on a high note — or should we say a Billy Joel note, peformed by an exceptional kid.