School Climate & Safety Federal File

Warning: Don’t Panic

By Jeff Archer — March 27, 2007 1 min read

Are terrorists driving school buses? Not as far as anyone knows. And yet, school safety analysts, transportation groups, and federal law-enforcement agencies took pains last week to say there’s no cause for concern in the wake of an FBI alert.

The flurry of attention began with an Associated Press story citing a bulletin by federal authorities that some individuals with suspected ties to extremist groups either are working as school bus drivers or have sought to do so.

Newspapers from Newark, N.J. to Seattle picked up the story. In the nation’s capital, The Washington Times ran a front-page story.

By last week, the news had made the talk shows, with Glenn Beck of CNN telling viewers of a “stunning FBI bulletin you won’t believe.”

FBI spokesman Richard Kolko said the alert merely pointed out that some individuals with possible ties to extremist groups, whom federal investigators are paying attention to, also drove school buses, have sought licenses to drive them, or purchased them.

The bulletin was one in a series issued by the FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to local law-enforcement agencies. It said that investigators had no reason to think extremists were planning an attack using school buses, and that parents shouldn’t worry.

“The FBI does investigations of things on a routine basis, and one of those things concerns where people work,” Mr. Kolko said. “There is no plot or threat.”

Michael Dorn, a school safety expert in Atlanta who wrote a book on school terrorism, said such stories can distract policymakers from far more likely threats to students’ safety, such as student-on-student violence and health-related heart stoppages.

“We’ve got kids dying in schools from things that are not such far-fetched scenarios,” he said, adding that he knows of one school board that considered putting helicopter-landing pads near its schools in case of a terrorist attack.

Michael J. Martin, the executive director of the Albany, N.Y.-based National Association for Pupil Transportation, argued that federal homeland-security money should be used to better secure school buses. Three years ago, his group asked the agency for $2 billion for satellite-track systems, video cameras, and other items for the nation’s 470,000-vehicle school bus fleet.

The request hasn’t been granted.

See Also

For more stories on this topic see Safety and Health and our Federal news page.

A version of this article appeared in the March 28, 2007 edition of Education Week


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Mathematics Webinar
Building Equitable Systems: Moving Math From Gatekeeper to Opportunity Gateway
The importance of disrupting traditional American math practices and adopting high-quality math curriculum continues to be essential for changing the trajectory of historically under-resourced schools. Building systems around high-quality math curriculum also is necessary to
Content provided by Partnership for L.A. Schools
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Measuring & Supporting Student Well-Being: A Researcher and District Leader Roundtable
Students’ social-emotional well-being matters. The positive and negative emotions students feel are essential characteristics of their psychology, indicators of their well-being, and mediators of their success in school and life. Supportive relationships with peers, school
Content provided by Panorama Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
Making Digital Literacy a Priority: An Administrator’s Perspective
Join us as we delve into the efforts of our panelists and their initiatives to make digital skills a “must have” for their district. We’ll discuss with district leadership how they have kept digital literacy
Content provided by

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School Climate & Safety Sponsor
Putting safety first: COVID-19 testing in schools
Are schools ready to offer a post-pandemic place to learn?
Content provided by BD
School Climate & Safety What the Research Says Teens Are Driving COVID-19 Surges. Can Schools Counteract That?
Teenagers and young adults are now driving COVID-19 cases in some states, and experts say schools may be critical in preventing outbreaks.
4 min read
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
School Climate & Safety Opinion Empowering Teachers and Parents to Speak Up on School Safety
Rick Hess shares practical suggestions from Max Eden on how to ensure school discipline reforms are indeed keeping students and staff safe.
3 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
School Climate & Safety Audio Driving the School Bus, Waiting for a Vaccine
A veteran bus driver holds out hope he won't get COVID-19 while awaiting his first vaccination.
3 min read
Eric Griffith, 55, poses for a portrait in front of a school bus in Jacksonville, Fla. on Thursday, March 18, 2021. Griffith, who has been a school bus driver for 20 years, delivered meals and educational materials during the first couple months of the coronavirus pandemic when schools shifted to remote learning.
Eric Griffith has been a bus driver for Duval County schools in Jacksonville, Fla., for 20 years. He's been driving students all year and hopes to get his coronavirus vaccine soon.
Charlotte Kesl for Education Week