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SALT LAKE CITY -- Most Utah students go back to the classroom next week, and that means the state's school buses are getting ready to hit the roads again.
This year in the Canyons School District, "good bus behavior" could pay off big for students.
The idea behind the program is to teach students how to behave properly on a bus using positive reinforcement. The program will launch in 29 elementary schools in the district on the first day of class.
Administrators say the program was inspired, in part, by the New York grandmother who was bullied to tears by the kids on the bus she monitored. They hope this effort will prevent anything like that from happening here in Utah.
It's going to give bus drivers, principals and teachers a common language to talk with students … so that they're able to work as a team with problem behavior instead of bus driver getting upset about something that's happening on the bus.
Jeff Wren, the district's route coordinator, used to drive a bus and knows it can get rowdy. He says the incentive program aims to keep students in line.
"Staying in their seats, not touching each other, just making sure that they're being quiet so the bus driver can do their job and get them to and from school safely," he said.
Instead of the old method of reprimanding students when they're not behaving properly, bus drivers will refer to magnets placed all around the bus using the acronym BUS. It serves to remind students to Be responsible, Use respect and Stay safe.
Through the good kind of peer pressure, bus drivers can recognize well-behaved students by awarding them "Bus Bucks." There's no limit to how many students can earn, and each school can determine how the bucks can be redeemed.
"It's going to give bus drivers, principals and teachers a common language to talk with students … so that they're able to work as a team with problem behavior instead of bus driver getting upset about something that's happening on the bus," said Natalie Bartholomew, the district's prevention-intervention coordinator.
Once the elementary school students have tested out the program, it will be rolled out to middle school students and eventually high school students as well.