District addresses after-school bus incident

September 21, 2017

On Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, at approximately 3:40 p.m., an unfortunate incident occurred on one of our district’s school buses.

A bus driver requested that all students on the high school after-school activity bus run sit on different sides of the aisle according to their gender. Before students loaded the bus, girls were told to sit on the right side of the aisle and boys to the left.

Two high school students who identify themselves as male chose to sit on the left side of the school bus. After all students found a seat, the driver asked these students to move to the right side of the bus. The students politely refused and remained in their seats, with every right to do so. The driver then gave the students a choice of either moving or getting off the school bus. Other students on the school bus voiced their concerns about how this situation was being handled.

Instead of moving, the two students exited the bus before it left the school parking lot. The driver asked for their names and told them he would be following up with school administrators. Both students met with a school administrator within minutes of getting off the bus and had a chance to share what had just occurred on the bus. Parents of these children were immediately contacted and both students were able to take another bus home from school.  

Students on the bus used the high school’s anonymous tip line via text message to notify school administrators about the incident and the school officials were able to respond to the students’ concerns right away.

Mr. Peter Mody, South Glens Falls High School Principal, and high school administration has followed up with the students and parents involved. The district is working with the driver on how this situation could have been handled in a much more appropriate manner.

“We do not tolerate any form of discrimination against our students,” said Superintendent of Schools Michael Patton, Ed.D. “All students need to feel safe and supported when they are in our classrooms, on our school property or riding in our school buses. We will continue to train and educate all of our students and adults about protecting the rights and needs of all students. We will continue to work hard in creating a supportive learning environment that is safe and free of any form of discrimination. I hope this unfortunate event can be used a learning experience for all.”

All staff members in the district went through a New York State Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) training on Sept. 5, 2017. DASA, also called The Dignity Act, seeks to provide the state’s public elementary and secondary school students with a safe and supportive environment free from discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment, and bullying on school property, a school bus and/or at a school function. Further gender sensitivity training will be scheduled for all staff to ensure the district is creating a safe and supportive environment for all students.

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