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Teaching Drivers To Deal With Bullying

Posted: 3:44 PM, Aug 04, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-04 19:44:02Z

LANSING, Mich. (WSYM) - School isn't in session for a few more weeks, but the parking lot at Gardner Middle School in Lansing was filled with school buses today.
FOX 47's Marcus Dash tells us how that's supposed to protect students this fall.

It's about bullying. Bullying often starts and ends on the bus. Today dean transportation gave its drivers a taste of what kids go through on the way to school.
They got a former Spartan basketball player to help.

"If they see something going on their own bus and they don't put an end to it things are going to get worse, but if they do take care of the situation they are apart of the solution," said Anthony Ianni.

Before Anthony Ianni was a public speaker and before he played basketball at MSU, he attended Okemos Public Schools where he was the victim of bullying for many years. 
He remembers his relationship with his bus driver helped him get through it all.

"We weren't afraid to go to Miss Benjamin and say, hey so and so is doing this can you tell him to stop? She would put an end to it because she treated her bus and her students on her bus like her own family," said Ianni.

Those are the kinds of relationships Dean Transportation wants its drivers and students to have.
The company hopes Ianni's story will hit home with the few hundred bus drivers in attendance.

"Anthony's message was key to helping our drivers understand the importance of identifying bullying, being proactive, and supporting students on the school bus," said Patrick Dean.

Dean is looking for people who want to be a part of the bullying solution as he fills open positions.

"To treat each other with respect and stop bullying is key to our message as we recruit drivers and as we educate veteran drivers as well," said Dean.

Both the Lansing School District and Dean Transportation are encouraging students to tell their bus drivers immediately if they get bullied. State law requires all districts to have a policy in place to deal with bullying.