Every day in the U.S., about 26 million children hop on a bus headed for school, and keeping those students safe is vital. A school bus hijacking is a real threat in today’s environment, and TSA teamed with the National Tactical Officers Association to hold a school bus hijacking drill as part of the 55th National School Transportation Association (NSTA) Meeting and Convention in Austin, Texas.
The city’s SWAT team took part in the drill, which was designed to help school bus drivers better prepare to respond to security threats on buses and provide local police the opportunity to practice response procedures and tactics. In an effort to tackle the changing threats across our transportation system, TSA is partnering with groups like these to assess operations and responses in the field.
“TSA has worked with pupil transportation providers on the public and private sides for many years, conducting assessments and exercises, helping with security planning, providing training and sharing security-related intelligence and information to enhance awareness and preparedness of the bus transportation sector,” said Surface Policy Division Highway and Motor Carrier Industry Engagement Manager David Cooper.
“School bus drivers and schools, in general, continue to face potential threats on a daily basis, including driver assaults,” Cooper said. “Although TSA’s primary focus is on counterterrorism, the benefits of having robust security plans and procedures when dealing with any type of security incident provides value to our public and private stakeholders. TSA continues to work with school districts throughout the country to enhance their preparedness and achieve their security goals of protecting America’s children.”
“The information on school bus safety and security TSA shared with our membership is crucial,” said NSTA in a written statement. “From discussions with members, they left Austin ready to take what they learned back home to their drivers and staffs. NSTA is always grateful to have TSA speak at our annual meetings and conventions and recognizes the importance of our continued engagement with TSA.”