NEWS RELEASES 2009-10 :: OCTOBER 22, 2009


For CMS school bus drivers, student safety is priority one. In their continuing efforts to ensure that it remains so, school bus drivers are participating in School Bus First Observer™ training. The next training session will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 27, from 9:30-10:30 a.m., at the Professional Development Center, 428 West Blvd., Charlotte.

The School Bus First Observer™ (SBFO) training program is specifically designed for school bus drivers, technicians and others who work to provide students safe and secure transportation to and from school. The training was developed by The Transportation Security Administration in response to worldwide acts of violence, including those involving children.

Since SBFO was launched in July 2009, about 2,800 public school bus drivers in North Carolina have received training. Charlotte's 1,000 school bus drivers will join this group. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools' Executive Director of Transportation Carol Stamper said, "Our school bus drivers go through a great deal of training and the SBFO is a natural addition to our training curriculum. These drivers care a lot about the students they transport and they welcome the opportunity to learn more about how to best protect them."

North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Transportation Services Section Chief Derek Graham will be present for the Oct. 27 session. Graham worked with the national team that created SBFO and will be available for questions and interviews following the training session. Graham, who speaks highly of school bus drivers and their responsibility, said, "These men and women are entrusted with the safety of our students. They are on the road every day and we want them to be aware when things just don't seem right. School Bus First Observer™ increases that awareness and gives them a link to a national call center where further analysis of suspicious activity can take place."

Twenty North Carolina school districts have trained their school bus drivers in First Observer™ including Rowan-Salisbury, Cleveland County, Montgomery County, Rutherford County, Randolph County and Asheboro City schools.

Additional information on First Observer™ is available online at For more information on North Carolina's school bus transportation program, please contact the NCDPI Communications division at 919.807.3450.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.