CLIFTON PARK -- As gender related issues, such as lgbtq emerge in society and schools, those overseeing students have to be aware of the issues and needs of them all. That's according to NYAPT, The New York association for pupil transportation. It's Cyr Foundation, a not for profit, developed what's called "Transporting LGBTQ Students." Peter Mannellla is the Executive Director.
"We recognize that school bus drivers are on school buses by themselves everyday with students who are dealing with gender questioning issues, the conflict between kids when there are gay kids on the bus and other kids are teasing, bullying, harassing them," says Mannella.
The 90 minute program exposes drivers to the laws related to this, then how to manage student behavior, as well as their own beliefs. Mannella says they had to study what was going on in schools.
"We had cases of children being harassed because they have two moms home, or they have two dads home and the kids are merciless about that sometimes.
How does a driver deal with that?" Mannella questions.
Mannella says a lot of training from the state or schools are teacher focused, and this course helps drivers recognize bullying as well as how to deal with some of the emotions the students may have.
In a statement, Shen addressed completion of the course by saying "Our transportation department is committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment for all students by offering many different training opportunities to staff. When we became aware of this new program we decided to offer it as part of our overall safety training program"