CRIME: Schools

President Barack H. Obama

January 16, 2013

"And so what we should be thinking about, is our responsibility to care for (children), and shield them from harm, and give them the tools they need to grow up, and do everything that they're capable of doing.  This is our first task as a society, keeping our children safe. This is how we will be judged.  And their voices should compel us to change.

"…we must do something to protect our communities and our kids…We have to examine ourselves in our hearts, and ask yourselves what is important?  This will not happen, unless the American people demand it.  If parents and teachers, police officers, and pastors, if hunters and sportsman, if responsible gun owners, if Americans of every background stand up and say, enough.  We've suffered too much pain, and care too much about our children to allow this to continue, then change will -- change will come.

"Along with our freedom to live our lives as we will, comes an obligation to allow others to do the same.   We don't live in isolation.  We live in a society, a government for and by the people. We are responsible for each other.

" …when it comes to protecting the most vulnerable among us, we must act now, for Grace, for the 25 other innocent children and devoted educators who had so much left to give; for the men and women in big cities and small towns who fall victims to senseless violence each and every day; for all the Americans who are counting on us to keep them safe from harm.

"Let's do the right thing.  Let's do the right thing for (our children) and for this country that we love so much." 

(Speaking of the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre which took the lives of 20 children and 6 adults, President Obama announced his anti-gun violence plan to curb such violence, and to protect our children.)

What You Can Do
  • Consider the School Bus Drivers in our community.  Every day, 60 school bus drivers get into accidents- about 22,000 bus crashes a year, injuring thousands of students.

    But the problems are much worse than just traffic accidents. A CBS News investigation found a stunning lack of oversight of school bus drivers.  On average, at least once a week a driver is arrested for driving under the influence, or child pornography, or even sexually assaulting a child.

    School bus drivers have to get a commercial drivers license, but because few drive across state lines, many federal safety rules do not apply.  So, while drivers with disqualifying medical conditions would not be able to work for a company like Greyhound, they could drive a school bus.

    "Truck drivers that are driving heads of lettuce or television sets actually have to meet higher safety standards than the people that drive our children on school buses," said transportation attorney Steve Gursten."  There are no universal standards.  So, there is nothing that automatically will disqualify a school bus driver who, let's say, has an extensive criminal background or DUIs or has caused too many crashes,"  Gursten said.  "Parents assume when they put their children on a school bus that that driver is safe.  These parents really need to be asking, 'Who's driving their children?'" Gursten said.

    One of the largest school bus companies in the country -- Durham School Services -- has turned to Craigslist to find drivers.  The school bus industry refused all CBS News requests for interviews.  (Source:  "Who's at the Wheel?" by Kris Van Cleave, CBS News, June 27, 2017)

  • Given the tools, students can help prevent bullying, drugs and violence from occurring in their school.   A new web and text message base called SchoolTipline allows students, parents and teachers to anonymously report incidents to school administration.  Administrators are then able to find out about things early on—things that they would probably never have been
Justin Bergener first came up with the idea for the site a couple of years ago when his younger sister had some friends who were being picked on, but they were too afraid to tell anyone because of all the negative peer pressure.

“There's a code of silence, so students typically don't want to talk about these things.  They always know what's going on in their school, but are either too fearful or don't have an outlet to report it.”

Help students make their school safer.  Visit to learn how to register your school and request to join School Tipline, and then share this with school administrators.