GEORGETOWN, Texas -- With the new school year about to begin many districts are looking for new bus drivers. And some of their training focuses on protecting your children from terror attacks.
As Georgetown ISD gears up for the beginning of a new school year, it's working to hire additional bus drivers to handle the 80 routes across the district, hauling more than 5,300 kids each day.
“If you don't have the heart for this, this ain't the job for you,” said Leslie Dunn.
The veteran bus driver will spend the next couple of weeks training new recruits, watching them check tire pressure, make sure lights work and other basic bus maintenance.
“Safety first. That's the main thing,” Dunn said.
This year the district's bus driver training is going the extra mile.
“It's going to cover everything from how to deal with terrorist threats to briefings from local first responders on how they handle situations that might involve a local school bus,” said GISD Transportation Director Walter Prothro. “We want our drivers to be first observers in the community.”
Prothro says realistic-looking explosive devices will be showing up on school buses throughout the school year.
“This little thing here kind of simulates a lunch bag but it's got a strange thing like a wire coming out of it that's tied to the zipper on the thing,” Prothro said. “We place them on the buses, not hidden but in places where if the drivers are doing their checks properly they'll see them. If they didn't find it we'll let them know so they can secure it before the children get on the bus. It's great training for them it really is.”
This is the first time Georgetown ISD has done such in-depth terror training for its bus drivers.
And those behind the wheel say in this day and age it's necessary to keep the kids and the community safe.
“Look at what we're driving it's the perfect target for somebody to set a bomb or suspicious package on,” Dunn said. “You're going down the road and didn't check it, and there go 72 lives plus your own.”
The fake explosive devices are put on the buses then found and removed before any students get on in the morning so kids do not come in contact with the fake bombs at all.
Georgetown ISD is hiring additional bus drivers. Starting pay is $12 per hour and increases to $13.99 after a probationary period.
The district does do extensive background checks, including a national fingerprint registry, drug testing, a physical, and a state driver's license check.
Interested individuals should apply online.