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Operator Volume 43 Issue 1 • January 2013
Upcoming Winter MN School Bus Safety Expo Don’t Miss this Opportunity! By Shari Danzeisen
Plans are well underway for the upcoming MN School Bus Safety Expo on January 18-19, 2013 in St. Paul. There are some exciting presentations planned for this year, and “hands on” demonstrations making this event an extremely important one for all involved in student transportation. We will start our conference with a presentation entitled: “Social Media Reactions: The Good, Bad & The Ugly.” This presentation prepared by Goff Public will show us how to react to different social media. Student videotaping your driver? Drivers using and friending students on Facebook? Students or parents tweeting about your business on Twitter? We will explore this and what we can do to maximize and minimize the use of social media in our work. Tom Revnew of Seaton, Peters, and Revnew will be presenting: Transportation Contracts: What You Want & What You Don’t. Myths and rumors about what is mandatory in contracts will be discussed. Newly Added: Tom Revnew will also be providing a presentation on “How the Affordable Health Care Act May Affect Your Business”. After lunch on Friday, we will spend the rest of the afternoon participating in “Not an Ordinary Day - Preparing for the Unexpected!” We never expect them, we never wish for them, but they can unfortunately happen. A day where things are not “ordinary” in student transportation. When things do not go as planned. The best way to combat days like these is by having your entire staff prepared for a variety of emergency situations. There are 5 half-hour live on-bus emergency demonstrations being prepared for attendees to participate in with topics such as: Special Needs Evacuation Drill, Special Needs Required Evacuation Plans, Fire on the Bus, Cutting Seat Belts, Severe Weather Reactions, Seizure Reactions, and a demonstration of Safety, Security and Emergency Video Surveillance. During the demonstrations, and intermissions between demonstrations, our vendor expo will be open to participants. The whole afternoon will center around the theme of Preparing for the Unexpected with vendor members participating in many of the demonstrations with ideas and products as well. It is sure to be an exciting, enjoyable and informative afternoon. We will wrap up the first day with the “Hour of Awesome” sponsored by Seon. Network with your fellow transportation colleages and enjoy food, fun, drinks, and perhaps a few surprises! The following morning we will reconvene with the State Patrol sharing any updates in regulations. We will then return to our theme of “Not an Ordinary Day - Preparing for the Unexpected!” with a presentation by Police Chief Jeff Herr entitled, “Run, Fight, Hide - Surviving an Active Shooter Event.” Is your school and business prepared for an extreme act of violence? Chief Herr will share information on how to protect yourself and your employees. Newly Added: We have recently added presentations on Saturday for mechanical staff persons!!!! Hoglund Bus Co., North Central, and Telin Transportation are presenting items such as: Virtual Dealership:Thomas Built Buses Portal, Access Freightliner, ESP (Electronic Service Parts) CPWA, Target Accounts, Taking the proper steps if you have a warranty Claim, OnComand - on line tool, New wiring...and much more. Saturday morning Hoglund Bus will be speaking from 8-10am, North Central from 10-12pm, and then Telin Transportation from 1-3pm. This conference is not to be missed! It has something for everyone on your transportation team!!!
Register online at www.msboa.com TODAY!
MN SCHOOL BUS SAFETY EXPO IS JANUARY 18-19, 2013...FULL CONFERENCE AGENDA INSIDE!
From the President
MISSION STAT E ME NT:
Gaylen Lenz Madelia Bus Service, Madelia, MN I am sure that we are all feeling the same about the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them as we wonder why did this happen and could it have been prevented. Being in the schoolbus business, everyone of us takes this tragedy just as personally as if they were our own kids. We as busdrivers take a personal responsibility for the well being of these students whether they are from Connecticut or from Minnesota. A schoolbus driver who has a regular dedicated route has just as much personal contact with school children than anybody else during the day. Drivers greet their students every morning as thay board the bus and say goodbye and send them on their way every afternoon when they go home assuming that they will see their smiling face the next morning as they do it all over again. What most people don't realize is that the schoolbus driver alot of times knows more about their children than they do. We know if they are having a tough time at home. We know when they might not be doing well in school. We know who their boyfriends and girlfriends are. We know who they might not be getting along with. We hear and see these things. We share their joys and triumphs with them and we share their griefs and sadness with them also. They become our kids as we watch them through the years starting in Kindergarten right up until they graduate and we miss them when they are grown and gone hoping to stay in contact with some of
BOARD OF DIRECTORS PRESIDENT GAYLEN LENZ FIRST VICE PRESIDENT RUDY LUNDAHL
SECOND VICE PRESIDENT JOSH SCHIFFLER
them to see how they are doing. I hope that any schoolbus driver that has any concerns about a student on their route would alert their company manager to share their thoughts with them. My wife Shari and I were walking through the Mankato River Hills Mall this last weekend to look for some of the latest movies that were released on DVD to give as Christmas presents. As we were walking through the video game section to get to the movies, we stopped and stared at the game selection that was there. Just about every game that was on the shelf had a theme of killing somebody or blowing something up. Our belief is that we need to take these games out of the hands of children and kick them back outside to go and play as we all did when we were kids. We don't have all of the answers and there will always be questions on how tragedies like this could have been prevented. We pray that this will never happen again. Please tell your drivers to keep up the good work and to stay positive with the children that ride their schoolbus. Remember to hug your own children and grandchildren every chance that you get and to Keep a Smile. It makes the world a better place. I hope to see everyone at the Winter Conference in St. Paul. Let's have a good turnout and make this a great event! Gaylen
THE PURPOSE OF THE OPERATOR IS TO PROVIDE THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE MINNESOTA SCHOOL BUS OPERATORS ASSOCIATION WITH INFORMATION REGARDING CURRENT INDUSTRY ISSUES. THE OPERATOR IS PUBLISHED 11 TIMES A YEAR BY THE MSBOA, 10606 HEMLOCK ST. NW â€˘ ANNANDALE, MN 55302. FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL 320-274-8313. E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org or FAX: 320-274-8027. Website: www.msboa.com SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE FREE WITH MEMBERSHIP. ADDITIONAL SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE $24.00 A YEAR. COPYRIGHT 2013. MEMBERS MAY MAKE PHOTOCOPIES OR USE ARTICLES AS NECESSARY PROVIDING THE SOURCE IS CITED. CO-EDITORS: SHARI DANZEISEN & SHELLY JONAS LAYOUT & DESIGN: SHARI DANZEISEN VIEWS PRESENTED IN THIS NEWSLETTER MAY NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THE OPINIONS OF THE ENTIRE MEMBERSHIP OR ITS BOARD OF DIRECTORS.
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Legislative Update By Tom Keliher, Keliher Government Affairs Consulting, LLC. Phone (612) 723-5168 • Email: email@example.com The New Year continues to bring two realities into focus annually in Minnesota; cold, ice, and snow; and the beginning of the 2013-14 State Legislative Session. Neither of these Minnesota January realities can be avoided or overlooked. Best advice for both eventualities is to be prepared. Changing the oil in the snow blower and getting a new spark plug, and preparing for the upcoming 2013 Legislative Session. On behalf of members, MSBOA will be reviewing and providing responses to Legislative proposals affecting school bus contractors. As such, there is a strong probability that some type of a new definition of “bullying” will become Law during this upcoming session. With the change in political majorities, due to the DFL successes in November, a stronger more comprehensive definition of “bullying” students will definitely be proposed. The proposal will define new standards of conduct between students in the school environment. As an extension of the school environment, new standards of conduct between students may need to be enforced and/or reported when an offense occurs on school buses.
dence of the cameras. The proposal may have difficulty with the fact the fines paid already go to entities of government already, State and local governments, and the judicial system. Meaning a fiscal cost would be attached to this proposal, this proposal does not really create new money to pay for the cameras. Current Law states that it is a $300.00 fine for running a stop arm. As described at the Safety Meeting, Judges are allowing accused violators make a “same or similar” plea, where the accused record is expunged after one year if “same or similar” driving violations do not occur. Also, local law enforcement apparently may be not investigating infractions and following up on complaints or reports. And to round out the system, the District Attorneys may not always be filing charges with the court for a variety of reasons
MSBOA will also be monitoring the State Patrol’s “housekeeping bill,” A term given to agency proposals that are not to contain controversial items. However, these “housekeeping bills” also can draw the attention of Legislators who have other similar or same Legislation they are proposing that may or may not have controversy. As presented by the Patrol, the Patrol has basically five amendments to State Law that affect school bus operators and/or drivers. Two of the amendments affect school bus drivers and three pertain to TYPE III Vehicles. MSBOA has reviewed this proposal which will be discussed at the January 17th Board meeting. A description of the changes is printed in the November issue.
State Law requires those convicted of multiple crossing arm violations to lose their license. The State Patrol has numerous videos of explicit and egregious violations that MSBOA could use as a proposal that would require some level of investigation by local law enforcement and/or the State Patrol. There are also examples in State Law that direct District Attorneys/City Attorneys to bring forward to the court the charge, and to prevent a Judge from staying or reducing the charge. Last year MSBOA promoted and ensured passage into law a crossing arm requirement for buses built for use in Minnesota. The promotion of student transportation safety is a prominent mission of MSBOA. Ensuring that crossing arm violations are treated as seriously would be a continuation of MSBOA’s promotion of transporting students safely.
At the last meeting of the Office of Pupil Transportation Safety a proposal was discussed to pay for the installation of cameras on stop arms to provide evidence that a car violated the stop arm law. The proposal would pay for the new cameras out of the fines paid by those convicted by the evi-
As always I encourage your comments and input into MSBOA’s Legislative Agenda, please free to call me at 612723-5168 or email me at Thomas@keliher-mn.com.
See the agenda inside this newsletter and register at www.msboa.com for the Minnesota School Bus Safety Expo!!!
4 Notes from the Joint Office of Pupil Transportation Safety Meeting and Special Needs Committee December 19, 2012 Introductions were made at Adam Services in St. Louis Park Dept of Ed – Finalizing data reports for state aid that will be reported on the website. Following December 30, an appeal will be the only way to change your data. Department of Public Safety- FYI – Receiving many complaints about doctors not approving physicals for individuals with sleep apnea. DOT says that it is recommendation, if doctors believe that they need a sleep study, that is what needs to be done. Forwarded complaints about certain doctors working with sleep study places to Dan Drexler at FMSCA for further investigation. Complaints of overloading in the Northern Region as well as Railroad crossing issues. Many frozen windows and emergency exits. Complaints about delay in background checks. BCA check is at 8 days. School district cited for an 11 – 15 Passenger Van. No inspection, turned over to feds for civil penalties. Found another Type III without school bus inspection. Carrier told State Patrol that they were out of business, but they are still doing work. Cited for no annual inspection, no medical card, no pretrip. These complaints came from people with legitimate operations, thank you for taking the time to make those reports to the DPS, they want these people off the road. Stop Arm Violation – Based on Driver Meetings, the State Patrol have found that drivers are not turning in violators because they feel that nothing is being done. One carrier was told by law enforcement not to send them in any more. Please keep documenting. Call the State Patrol, they will come out there and follow the bus route with habitual offenders or locations. DPS can put pressure on prosecutors. There was a discussion regarding what we can do, and a suggestion to talk to the Sheriff Association. Talked about training of drivers to make sure the students are safe before the driver opens the door, safety must come before catching violations. Suggestion to meet the local police department about how they want to be notified. MAPT suggested that DPS needs to step up awareness to the public. There was a suggestion for additional training for offender class. 18-25 Alive Classes might be a good option. MAPT has brochures for sale. Suggestion to go into school and talk to driver’s ed classes. MSBOA questioned the fines and limited the judges’ ability to stay the fine if that could be addressed legislatively. Drake Hotel – left side curb pickup needs to stop. Buses need to use the right side cut out, will be visiting in January to write tickets. Taxi cabs – When is the last time you’ve checked that the driver is qualified, the vehicle is inspected? Charter school used taxi and found that they had a medically unqualified driver and vehicle not inspected following a crash. This is not how you want to find out. The taxi company is not working with district. United Transportation out of Bloomington is refusing to reply with evaluations, do not use them until they comply. Carrier Reviews going well. Double check that eligible pool list and driver list and make sure they are updated. Driver Vehicle Services – Deb Carlson – 18 days out issuing licenses. Type III – ability to get school bus waiver – now able to give a medical waiver by using the same forms (diabetes, vision, and limb waiver) they have been updated on the website. Reminder – no new waiver for epilepsy, those that held waivers have been grandfathered in. Those drivers will be tracked in the system. Medical certificates are backed up over a month. Continued on Page 5.
5 Joint Office of Pupil Transportation Safety Meeting and Special Needs Committee Continued from Page 4. The system is cumbersome; they are unable to move up in the system. They have to go in order. Send drivers directly to exam station if you are in a time crunch. If you are faxing, darken the document, and enlarge it so it can be read. 5628 Medical Certificates were done in the past week. 117,744 Medical Certs were updated in the past 11 months. DVS offered to put their date up on their webpage. Request to be able to email the documents, but that is not available right now. Working with the roadeo committee so that they can host it at an Exam Station. As a heads up, there will be 10 new examiners state wide in the next year due to retirement. Question: If drivers put the wrong category down on their medical cert, can they submit a new one? Yes, that should fix the issue. Paul Davis thanked Deb Carlson for all the help she’s given this year, DVS has taken a beating this year. Train the Trainer – Ray Kroll – Deferred to Kala. Bus vendors asked about joining Train the Trainer, Monday and Tuesday will have sessions for School Bus Technicians. Peggy Burns and Mark Hinson will have HR Challenges. Wed: Car Seat sessions. Thursday: Admin., Sped. Friday: DPS updates. Registration information will be out by the Winter Expo. School Bus Road-e-o _ Saturday, June 1st. Arden Hills Exam Station. Will be able to use the test computers for the written portion. Get your drivers ready. Poster Contest – “At My Stop – You Stop!” Get the information out to the districts now. If you have bus behavior issues escalating, this is a great opportunity to have a mid year training session. Stake Holder’s Group – First combined meeting, any feedback let us know. Question about Metro Transit - DOT is working on best practices and will keep looking into infringement. MSBOA has been looking into the issue, regarding the inappropriate use, student safety, and competition with private business. Minneapolis has concerns about safety. Students are crossing roads without the benefit of the
Make sure to Register for the upcoming MN School Bus Safety Expo January 18-19, 2012
stop arm. MSBOA – School Bus Safety Expo – The Agenda was distributed. MAPT – Crisis training task force by governor, would like to see school transportation is a part of that task force. MAPT Legislative Issues – Bemidji parent pulled in front of a bus so that her child could get on board. MAPT is discussing an interference with a school bus route law. MAPT would also like to see lift buses being able to be used right away, rather than requiring the lift being separately inspected. Stop Arm Camera law that would allow districts catch the violator and get a portion of the fine. Will need to examine issues with license plate. Georgia, Virginia and Maryland are already doing this. Will also need to examine Civil fine vs. Criminal fine as Minneapolis had issues years ago with camera written tickets. Ray Kroll – Conflict/Crash points –distributed a flyer for your bulletin boards. USA Today newspaper article – Newspaper Pedestrians listening to music, texting, not paying attention. Response to Connecticut – Discussion about staff response on how to talk to kids about events like Newtown. One of the pieces is that school bus drivers should not be talking with students about the event, direct them to school staff or parents. Drivers should have turned off radios during an event like that and think about what is being said between songs.
MSBOA Needs Your Email Address! This past month we have had a number of calls from people who say that they cannot register for the conference on the MSBOA website. This has been in general because we do not have your email address. Website access is based on your email address. It is your log in. The MSBOA does not give your email address to outside members. We know all too well how dealing with “junk email” sucks up a part of the day so our office is committed to reduce the number of emails it sends out. Nevertheless email remains the most cost efficient way for us to communicate issues on a timely basis. Our office sends out a twice monthly Friday Flash. We occasionally will send out a notice if one of our members is ill or has passed away or if we need instant feedback on a legislative issue. Perhaps you have access, but have another person in your organization that does the registering for conferences or would like to receive the emails as well, give us a call and we can add them under your organization. Some of you have been alarmed that they are listed as non-members, but that is normal. The organization is the member, and the individuals should be listed as receiving benefits.
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If you are still having trouble, give us a call. Usually all that is required is to reset the password. Thanks for your patience on learning this new system! www.seon.com 1.877.630.7366
Need Legal Help? It’s Just a Phone Call Away! As a valued member of Minnesota School Bus Operator's Association, you are entitled to using Thomas Revnew of Seaton, Peters & Revnew Legal Hotline free of charge. During each six month period, you will be entitled to two free fifteen-minute telephone calls to the Hotline. MSBOA encourages you to use this free service. When using the hotline, please follow the following procedure: 1.
Call Tom Revnew's direct dial, which is (952) 921-4622.
Identify yourself, your company name and that you are a client of MSBOA.
If Tom Revnew is not available, please leave a voicemail with the information described above and Tom will return the call as soon as possible.
If Tom Revnew is not available and your call is an emergency, please dial "0" when you receive Tom's voicemail and you will be transferred to the receptionist.
News and Views A CONTINUING SERIES OF BOARD COMMENTARIES Dear MSBOA Colleague:
During the last two legislative sessions, the Republican’s controlled both the Senate and House of Representatives. On election day 2012, the Democrats took control of both legislative groups. This change creates an opportunity or challenge of introducing and educating the new legislators to the MSBOA and our issues.
We have begun this process by making two separate $500 contributions to DFL Senate and DFL House Caucuses. Tom Keliher our lobbyist, hand delivered the checks so he could get in front of each group and reintroduce himself and remind them that he is the face of the MSBOA at the Capitol. He is encouraging leadership to invite him to the table whenever school bus issues arise. Following is a summary of 2012 individual PAC donations and payments: Donations: $100 Jeff & Jorja Dufresne $225 Pat & Mary Regan $200 John Stier $250 Jim Koonst $200 Learnold & Judy Klingberg $350 Ken Iselmann $250 Tom & Jennifer Hey $85 Phyllis Nielsen $450 Gaylen & Shari Lenz $160 Betty Trobec $100 Todd Telin $350 Josh & Tasha Schiffler $350 Jim & Carrie Schiffler $53 Mike & Cindy Pipenhagen $240 Chuck Peterson $60 Shelly Jonas $288 Steve Jannings $328 Lyle Hicks $200 David Feldhege $1010 Bruce & Donna Dischinger $240 Mike & Dawn Clark $100 Bev Arvidson $100 Jim Priester $550 Ken & Tami Spanier $200 Jon & Mary Held $335 Doug Grism $300 Malinda Sandhu $850 Roger & Karen Milner
$295 $150 $550 $9159
Wayne Hoglund Lisa Hoglund John & Wanda Benjamin Grand total donations for 2012
Payments: $200 Kent Eken, House Dist 2A $200 Mike Beard, House Dist 55A $200 Mark Murdock, House Dist 10B $200 Deb Kiel, House Dist 1B $200 Terry Morrow, House Dist 19A $200 Tim Kelly, House Dist 21A $200 Sondra Erickson, House Dist 15A $200 Kathy Brynaert, House Dist 19B $200 Denise Dittrich, House Dist 36A $200 Carol McFarlane, House Dist 53B $200 Pat Garofalo, House 58B $200 Mike Benson, House 26B $200 Olmsted County Republican Caucus $500 DFL House Caucus $500 DFL Senate Caucus $1000 House Republican Caucus $6800 Grand Total payments for 2012 “Friends of MSBOA PAC, fund balance as of December 31, 2012: $8743.64 Your PAC committee members are grateful for your support during 2012: Bruce Dischinger, Gaylen Lenz, Jim Schiffler, Shelly Jonas, Tom Keliher & Tom Revnew. If you would like to make a donation to the PAC, draft a personal check, made payable to: “Friends of MSBOA PAC”, send to: 10606 Hemlock Street NW, Annandale MN 55302. Questions regarding PAC activities should be directed to: Jim Schiffler PAC Chairman 320-266-1312
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8 Stop-arm Cameras Key to Keeping Students Safe On (and Off) the Bus By Lori Jetha School transportation officials cite the safety of the nation’s children as their #1 priority. Data from first national survey of stop-arm violations, spearheaded by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS)1, highlights a serious threat to that safety. According to the 2011 survey results, Florida and Georgia school bus drivers recorded a whopping combined total of 13,546 stoparm passing incidents in a single day. Can cameras help address stop-arm violations? The startling results of this one-day driver survey have many school districts in Georgia and Florida looking for viable solutions to counteract this problem. Seon is helping school districts address the problem using video technology to capture stop-arm violations. They’ve developed highresolution stop-arm cameras that capture the license plate and help identify the make or model of the vehicle illegally passing the school bus. This frees school bus drivers from the responsibility of recording license plates and allows them to focus on the safety of their passengers. Stop-arm cameras can be added to an existing bus camera system, provided that the digital video recorder (DVR) can support additional cameras. Typically two cameras, designed for outdoor use, are mounted on the side of the bus for this purpose. One camera records the violation, and a second camera captures the license plate number of the vehicle. Depending on available budget, a third front-facing camera can be mounted on the side of the bus or on the windshield to provide a wide-angle view of the scene. This is recommended to provide additional context on the situation. The video footage of these violations is automatically tagged with the date, time, and location of the event, as well as vehicle speed, stoparm activation, turn signals, and warning lights for additional situational awareness. The marked event can be set up to automatically download as soon as the bus returns to the yard, using wireless technology and video management software. School bus operators can then easily search archives and view video of the event. A video clip is created for review by law enforcement to confirm the violation and that there is enough evidence to send a warning letter or ticket to the vehicle’s owner. Are stop-arm cameras a viable solution? When school districts are looking at putting stop-arm cameras on their buses, there are a few key things to consider.
“There are two key factors in capturing the license plates of vehicles illegally passing a school bus – camera position and image quality,” says Peter Simmons, Director of Marketing at Seon. “Even if you install the cameras in the right position, the camera must be designed to provide high-resolution images, clear enough to capture the license plates of vehicles passing at potentially high speeds.” And not just any camera can be mounted outdoors to capture details like a license plate number. It must be an outdoor-rated camera, built to stand up to extreme humidity or the pressure of a bus wash. The camera must also have at least a 16 mm telephoto lens to be able to identify numbers on a license plate. Seon recently introduced a high-definition camera that delivers 3x the resolution of a typical analog camera, ideal for this application. Consider also whether the state has legislation that allows for automated cameras or video recording systems to detect and prosecute individuals illegally passing school buses. If state or local laws do not provide for the use of automated cameras on school buses, there may be an issue using the video evidence in court. Working with your camera vendor to understand the state law is always a good idea. What else can we do to reduce the threat of injury? Having cameras on the bus to record stop-arm violations is one way to address the problem. But, there are a few additional strategies that can help reduce the threat of injury: Reposition School Bus Stops Locate bus stops in safe areas with no blind curves, high-speed zones or treed areas. Moving a bus stop to a quieter side street also reduces the potential for injury. Clearly Marked Bus Stops Work with your local or state authorities to install more signs warning drivers that there is a school bus stop ahead. Most motorists do not intentionally pass a school bus. More signage can give advanced warning to capture the attention of distracted drivers. Driver Training Reinforce policies on the safe deployment of stop-arms through regular driver training and spot checks. Ensuring that drivers are following the correct procedures (i.e. yellow hazards as the bus slows, red hazards 200 feet prior to the bus stop, full stop prior to extending the stoparm) will help improve safety and reduce motorist’s complaints. Crossing Guard Policy Some school districts have introduced policies
that require drivers to escort students across busy roads, or have a crossing guard program for bus stops in busy areas, multi-lane roads, or hazardous intersections. Partner with Local Law Enforcement Coordinate with your local law enforcement agencies to conduct a stop-arm violation blitz. Cameras and signage on the bus may not be enough to deter stop-arm violators. The presence of law enforcement vehicles issuing tickets or warnings to motorists can serve as a wake-up call to distracted drivers. Community Awareness Work with national and state organizations like Operation Stop Arm3 to create awareness within the community. Many motorists may not be familiar with the laws, or need a reminder of the implications of illegally passing a school bus. Making the right decision When choosing a solution to help reduce stoparm violations, it is important to consider all of the legal, technical, and practical implications. Each school district may have a different approach, depending on their resources or the gravity of the problem in their district. Sources: 1 - NASDPTS – 2011 National Stop Arm Violation Survey www.nasdpts.org/StopArm2011/documents/NA SDPTS_Stoparm_Data11July2011.pdf 2 -The World Market for Mobile Video Surveillance Equipment, IMS Research, 2007, 2009, & 2011. 3 – Information about Operation Stop Arm is available at www.operationstoparm.info. Lori Jetha is the Marketing Communications Manager for Seon Design, the world’s #1 mobile surveillance equipment supplier to the bus and coach industries. Seon’s mobile surveillance and fleet management systems provide simple solutions to enhance student safety on and off the bus. For more information, please visit www.seon.com.
Happy New Year!!!
BY THOMAS REVNEW, ESQ., OF SEATON, PETERS & REVNEW
HOTLINE PHONE: (952) 921-4622
Military Employees May be Reinstated to Terminated Positions On December 5, 2012, the Eighth Circuit determined in Milhauser v. Minco Products, No. 12-1756 (8th Cir. Dec. 5, 2012), that reinstatement of employees under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (“USERRA”) could include reinstatement to a terminated position. In other words, if employee would have lost his job regardless of military service, termination is appropriate. USERRA guarantees that military servicemembers are reemployed in the position they would have occupied if their military commitment had not interrupted their employment. Douglas Milhauser took a leave of absence from his job at Minco for a military deployment. During his leave, his position was eliminated pursuant to a reduction in force. When he completed his military duty, Milhauser notified Minco and requested reinstatement. Minco informed him that his position had been eliminated. Milhauser sued Minco for violating USERRA. After a jury trial found for the employer and the district court upheld the verdict, ruling that Milhauser had been properly reinstated to a terminated position, Milhauser appealed the matter to the Eighth Circuit. Under USERRA, the position to which an employee must be returned if their continuous employment had not been interrupted by military service is known as the “escalator” position. The employee does not necessarily return to the exact same position they held before leaving for military duty, but instead the employer must place the employee in whatever position to which his step on the escalator had moved during his or her deployment. This “escalator principle” requires that an employee’s career be considered as though his or her employment was not interrupted by military deployment. For example, if an employee would have been promoted to supervisor if he or she was not called to duty, the employee must be placed in a supervisory position upon returning to employment. The Eighth Circuit noted that“[d]epending on the circumstances, the escalator principle may cause an employee to be reemployed in a higher or lower position, laid off, or even terminated.” In upholding the jury’s verdict and district court’s decision, the Eighth Circuit ultimately determined that if an employee’s employment would have been terminated if the employee had remained employed rather than taking a military leave of absence, termination is a proper reinstatement position under USERRA. Best Values: From this case, it is clear that if the position of a returning servicemember would have been terminated at the time he or she returns to work, an employer is permitted to reinstate that employee to a terminated position. However, employers should keep in mind the escalator principle – if an employee would have been promoted or moved to another position during the military leave, the employer must consider whether there are available positions in those departments upon the servicemember’s return.
• Legal Hotline for MSBOA Members • Employee Handbook & Employment Materials Package $875 (Includes 2 hours of attorney time - hourly rates thereafter)
• Drug & Alcohol Testing Package $425
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Ask for MSBOA Discount of $100 off above packages Contact Tom Revnew 7300 Metro Blvd., Suite 500 • Minneapolis, MN 55439 Tel 952.896.1700 • Fax 952.896.1704 www.seatonlaw.com
10 Disinfection: Best Practices for School Buses From the PSBA School Bus Report Keeping your school buses clean and free of germs is an essential to minimizing the spread of sickness, whether that means the common cold or an infectious disease outbreak. To start, schools and transportation companies should have a comprehensive cleaning program or schedule in place. According to the National Education Association’s Health Information Network a comprehensive plan should include: An Infection Control Plan that presents a clear protocol for routine cleaning, sanitizing, and targeted disinfecting, including steps to take in the event of an infectious disease outbreak. Specific cleaning, sanitizing and targeted disinfecting protocols should be identified by a school stakeholder group. Independent third-party certified cleaning products, such as thouse certified by Green Seal and EcoLogo or that meet the ChildSafe Guidelines. Certified products do not contain ingredients that are known to contribute to asthma, cancer, respiratory irritation, liver and kidney disease, or other health conditions. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered disinfectants or sanitizers for targeted use as specified in the ICP. Best practices and procedures that protect the health of product users and other building occupants. Cleaning equipment designed to reduce the amount of chemicals required. These help prevent injuries, control cross-contamination, and effectively capture dirt, dust, microbes. Examples include: walk off mats, highefficiency particulate absorbing HEPA vacuum cleaners, microfiber cloths and mops, and time and energy saving floor care machines. Training programs for staff on cleaning, sanitizing, and targeting disinfecting products and procedures, as well as hazard communications and bloodborne pathogens training.
The NEA also recommends these best practices for school transportation officials: Refer to the ICP for special precautions and corredct handling procedures if there is blood or other bodily fluid incidents. Be familiar with the products used on your bus. Consult the material safety data sheets which should be readily available in the transportation or custodial office. Read and follow all product label instructions before using any cleaning, sanitizing, or disinfecting products, and directions may vary.
launder the contaminated clothing with soap, water and bleach. Wash separately from other items if the clothing is soaked in bodily fluids. Use a school approved disinfectant on contaminated jhard surfaces or another product that kills HIV, Hep B, vegetative bacteria, fungi and tuberculosis bacilli, and other viruses. Mops or other materials used in cleaning should be soaked in disinfectant and washed in a hot water cycle after use. Disposable items that meet the definition of regulated waste must be placed in color-coded containers or labeled “biohazard,” according to OSHA.
When sanitizing and disinfecting be sure to follow the directions regarding the time the product must remain wet on the surface (dwell time) and rinsing procedures if necessary. School bus drivers may also come in contact with the bodily fluids or regulated waste. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration defines regulated wast as: any liquid or semi-liquid blood or other potentially infectious materials; contaminated items that would release blood or other potentially infectious materials in a liquid or semi-liquid state if compressed; items that are caked iwth dried blood or other potentially infectious materials and are capable of releasing these materials during handling; and sharps (e.g. materials that will cause punctures or cuts to those handling them such as needles and scalpel blades) and other microbiological wastes containing blood or the potentially infectious materials. To decontaminate an area of regulated waste, follow these steps: Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water. If clothing has been contaminated, rinse and place it and other non-disposable items that have been soaked iwth blood fluid, in plastic bags. Use gloves while handling the items and
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FAQ on Special Needs Hot Topics This information was disseminated during a question and answer session at the 12/21/12 Meeting. This should be considered best practices guidance and not necessarily state or federal law. A carrier had a four year old who could get out of his car seat, the team researched as to what options they had. The student was moved to a safety vest (like the EZ On Vest) and buckle guard that seems to be working. When talking to the parents, they found that this was an issue for them as well and were happy to find out that the vest had universal loops that the parents were able to use in their personal vehicle. A compliment was given for the safety vests. The Brainerd School District is using more and more safety vests. Recently, they received a call from the hospital that couldn’t transport a child until he could get into a car seat. The medical team was advised to use a vest. The school district was quite happy that the hospital thought to use them as an expert on transportation issues. There was a question about using a safety vest in a Type III vehicle. This is a possibility but the transportation team needs to be advised to buy the special tether from EZ-On for personal vehicle. Cannot use the school bus one. Questions about using safety vest or star seat for behavior issues without an IEP. This student did not have an IEP, but was a constant issue on the bus. The transportation team was wondering if they could use the safety vest on this student. This is not allowed. Suggestion to remove child from transportation and force parents and/or school to address why they haven’t been diagnosed or have an IEP in place. To use the vest without an IEP would violate the less restrictive environment requirements. Discussion about service animals. If a dog needs to lie in the aisle or needs a rug so that he doesn’t slip around the vehicle is that permitted? Duane Bartles stated that he doesn’t believe that this would be considered blocking an aisle. The dog will move in the event of an evacation. Discussion about Allergies, the transportation team stated that the allergic child would be moved since they are the one needed accommodation, not the other way around. There was also a discussion about finding out if a student has ADA requirements that require immediate transportation. You cannot ask a student to do a ride through or wait a few days to put them into place.
Need more information and training on Special Needs Transportation? Make sure to register and attend the MN School Bus Safety Expo on January 18-19, 2013 in St. Paul. Go to: www.msboa.com to register!
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Minnesota School Bus Safety Committee Meets 3rd Weds. of Every Month Locations Vary Contact: LeAnn Livingston 651-982-8193
January 18-19, 2013 MN School Bus Safety Expo Crowne Plaza & St. Paul River Centre St. Paul, MN
Transportation Issues Study Committee Meets 4th Weds. of Every Month Contact: Keith Paulson 763-506-1132
June 9-11, 2013 MSBOA Summer Conference Ruttgerâ€™s Sugar Lake Lodge Cohasset, MN
Office of Pupil Transportation Stakeholders Quarterly Meetings Held, Dates Vary Contact: Lt. Brian Reu 651-405-6047
In This Issue: From the President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Legal Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Legislative Update . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
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MN State Patrol Contacts Listed to the right is contact information for the state troopers in charge of school bus transportation. Use this contact information! They are ready to help with any questions or concerns you may have!
Northern Region Sergeant James Senenfelder Northern Regional Trooper Phone (612) 360-5172 E-mail: email@example.com Metro Region Sergeant Paul Davis Metro / Central Regional Trooper Phone (612) 685-4820 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Southern Region Sergeant Chad Dauffenbach Southern Regional Trooper Phone (507) 430-0791 E-mail: email@example.com