JCPS’ new position supports bus drivers with student referrals

Starting Wednesday, each bus compound will have a Climate and Culture staff member to handle bus driver referrals.
Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 6:17 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - JCPS announced a new position to handle students causing problems on the bus. 

Starting Wednesday, each bus compound will have a Climate and Culture staff member to handle bus driver referrals.

Bus drivers fill out referrals for everything from students fighting on buses or harassing drivers to addressing safety concerns. Then, drivers would take those referrals, follow up with the schools themselves and wait for action to be taken.

Now, a Climate and Culture staff member takes those referrals directly from the driver and handles the rest.

JCPS bus drivers have been vocal about the lack of discipline they face on their routes. A current driver explained her issues with the referral process during a Wave Troubleshooter Investigation.

“Students wanted to fight me and threaten me,” JCPS Bus Driver Misty Meredith said. “Two of the girls did get expelled, but the majority of the girls that were part of the problem were still on the bus. They were right back at the compound the very next day.”

Drivers, like Meredith, would write bus referrals and wait for students to face consequences. On Wednesday, the district introduced the Climate and Culture position to streamline the referral process.

A Climate and Culture staff member will be at each bus compound, take referrals, and follow up with schools, instead of the bus driver doing it all.

“If a bus driver does have concerns, they can go straight to the Climate and Culture person,” Matt Anderson, JCPS Assistant Superintendent of Climate and Culture, said. “This person can follow up with the administrator and make sure we are closing up that loop.”

The Climate and Culture staff will enter referrals into the system for school administrators to address. They will update compound coordinators weekly about discipline issues and the resolutions assigned.

The biggest change drivers will see is action on their referrals happening faster.

“We are looking to streamline that turnaround time,” Anderson said. “Twenty-four to 48 hours is really what we are shooting for. In some cases, that will be shorter, and if we have immediate safety concerns those will be addressed immediately. If we have something that may need to be investigated, that gives us some time to make sure we have the right information and address things appropriately.”

After the Climate and Culture staff uploads referrals into the system, school administrators will review and process them. Then those school officials, the bus driver, and compound coordinators will collaborate on bus suspensions and safety issues.