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Students and bus drivers call for respect

December 20, 2009

I chaired a special meeting this week between students and bus drivers, to discuss the difficulties both groups face on public buses.

The students from Catford High, Bonus Pastor and Pendragon School, have been meeting each term for over a year, as part of the Youth Safer Neighbourhood Panel in the south of Lewisham. The purpose of the Panel, which is co-ordinated by the Whitefoot Safer Neighbourhood Team, is to give young people a chance share and discuss any concerns they have about crime and safety in the area.

One particular issue that has arisen is the trouble that sometimes occurs on buses, especially at the end of the school day when students from a number of local schools are all trying to get home at the same time. That is why we invited local bus drivers to attend the meeting this week to help find a solution together.

Bus travel can be very difficult for many young people. Some feel unsafe and threatened on the buses, and they can get incredibly crowded at the start and end of the school day. They can also be left waiting for a long time for a bus, which just makes things worse. What was so good about this meeting was that the young people began to realise that being a bus driver can also be a stressful job. It was great to see the students really engaging with the issue and coming up with constructive solutions, from having dedicated school buses to having more police on the buses. We all concluded that starting point for any solution is for everyone to be respectful and considerate.

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