Letters extra: Double-decker discipline

30th January 2004 at 00:00

In an age when perhaps there is too much 'health and safety' it seems extraordinary to me that school buses require only a driver and no adult to supervise the children.

It doesn't matter whether it is the poshest fee paying public school or the worst bog standard comprehensive, something seems to come over unsupervised children in public transport and their behaviour can often descend to horrendous levels.

I write as one who, as a pupil at a public school assisted our captain of cricket to unscrew as many ashtrays in a 20 minute train journey as possible, as one who has driven minibuses full of children in both public and state schools and found it very difficult to concentrate on my driving whilst quelling riorious behaviour on the back seat, and as a teacher in a middle school for 25 years who regularly sees double deckers returning from our local comprehensive with pupils upstairs sitting with their backs against the upper deck front windows and downstairs others deep in conversation with the driver.

This sort of behaviour, and much worse, can be found up and down the country. Last month a London double decker had to stop because two boys fighting upstairs hit a window so hard that they both fell out on to the pavement! Luckily neither was badly hurt. The recent tragic death of a child on a double decker simply highlights a problem which is as old as school bus journeys. I'm not sure that fitting all double deckers used on school runs is practical. A paid supervisor is the answer on EVERY school bus. The money has to be found. Cheap at the price.

Michael H C Baker
Wareham, Dorsetnbsp; nbsp;nbsp;

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