Transportation coordinator: School bus behavior has improved with monitors

  • This F.M. Kuzmeskus, Inc. bus drops off children at a bus stop at the entrance of Oak Courts in Greenfield on Thursday. Staff Photo/Domenic Poli

  • Metro Creative Graphics

Staff Writer
Published: 2/7/2019 11:33:02 PM

GREENFIELD – The addition of two to three bus monitors, including Greenfield School Department Transportation Coordinator Edward Voudren, has cut down on disruptive conduct by students in the past couple of weeks, according to Voudren. However, he said, the behavior changes when a monitor is not present.

The school department rolled up its sleeves to address how behavioral issues are handled after parents reported that an F.M. Kuzmeskus Inc. bus driver demanded roughly 15 Greenfield Middle School students exit the vehicle at an inappropriate bus stop on the way home from school on Jan. 23. An investigation was started and the school department decided to prohibit that particular driver from transporting students.

Greenfield contracts part of its bus service to Kuzmeskus, which is based in Gill. Voudren said eight of the school buses belong to the company, and the school department owns five, for which it provides drivers.

Voudren explained three bus monitors have been trained and at least two ride with children on a different designated bus each day to curb rowdy behavior. He said even more monitors are being trained. He previously explained the school department pays for the training for these paid positions. The training is continuous, though the intial round lasts about eight hours.

Voudren, who has been on the job about eight weeks, said there has also been improved communication with Kuzmeskus, which he said has been very cooperative in this matter. He also said the school department is implementing a walkie-talkie system to enable him to communicate with Kuzmeskus bus drivers.

“That will really change the scope of communication with the drivers,” Voudren said. “We’re going to be steadfast on this.”

Voudren also said drivers will give disciplinary forms to misbehaving students and principals will be notified of incidents so they can inform the school department. School Superintendent Jordana Harper said the school is handling discipline directly with parents whose students Kuzmeskus reports via this “ticket” system.

Pamela Reipold, one of the owners of F.M. Kuzmeskus Inc., said the system is nothing new for Kuzmeskus, which she said has operated in Greenfield for “20-something years.”

“We’ve always been working on this,” she said. “We’ve been working on this forever.”

She previously said student behavior on buses has been “really atrocious” and on Thursday said she feels the accusations made last month were exaggerated. She said recent cooperation by the school department is “super excellent” and “what needs to happen.”

Harper said one of the new monitors also supervises lunches at the middle school and elementary level to get to know the bus riders.

“GPS with Ed’s concerted efforts is continuing to reach out to and communicate with Kuzmeskus including regarding the assignment of monitors,” Harper said in an email to The Recorder. “Preliminary signs show this approach is yielding positive results.”

Harper said anyone interested in becoming a bus monitor can visit the school department’s central office at 195 Federal St., Suite 100.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.




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