School Climate & Safety Federal File

Warning: Don’t Panic

By Jeff Archer — March 27, 2007 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

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

Events

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.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attend to the Whole Child: Non-Academic Factors within MTSS
Learn strategies for proactively identifying and addressing non-academic barriers to student success within an MTSS framework.
Content provided by Renaissance
Classroom Technology K-12 Essentials Forum How to Teach Digital & Media Literacy in the Age of AI
Join this free event to dig into crucial questions about how to help students build a foundation of digital literacy.

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

School Climate & Safety Roads Around Schools Are Unsafe, Principals Say. Here's What to Do About It
Traffic conditions aren't fully within school leaders' control. But there are still steps schools can take to help students arrive safely.
4 min read
Focus is on a flashing school bus stop sign in the foreground as a group of schoolchildren cross a parking lot with the help of a crossing guard in the distance.
E+
School Climate & Safety Video Should Teachers Carry Guns? How Two Principals Answer This Question
One has two armed school employees. The other thinks arming teachers is a bad idea.
4 min read
People hold signs in the gallery against a bill that would allow some teachers to be armed in schools during a legislative session in the House chamber on April 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn.
People hold signs in the gallery against a bill that would allow some teachers to be armed in schools during a legislative session in the House chamber on April 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn.
George Walker IV/AP
School Climate & Safety Former Uvalde Police Chief Indicted Over Response to Robb Elementary Shooting
The former chief and another former officer face felony charges of child endangerment and abandonment.
3 min read
Flowers are placed around a welcome sign outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Wednesday, May 25, 2022, to honor the victims killed in Tuesday's shooting at the school.
Flowers are placed around a welcome sign outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Wednesday, May 25, 2022, to honor the victims killed in the shooting at the school.
Jae C. Hong/AP
School Climate & Safety Can a Teachers' 'Bill of Rights' Bring Order to the Classroom?
Alabama's new law gives teachers the authority to remove misbehaving students from class.
4 min read
Image of a student sitting outside of a doorway.
DigitalVision