Gulf Shores City Schools receives perfect score for safety on school bus transportation system

By Jessica Vaughn
Education Editor
jessica@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 3/7/22

GULF SHORES - Employees of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently visited Gulf Shores to attend the Gulf Shores City Schools February council meeting. During the meeting, …

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Gulf Shores City Schools receives perfect score for safety on school bus transportation system

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GULF SHORES - Employees of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently visited Gulf Shores to attend the Gulf Shores City Schools February council meeting. During the meeting, Transportation and Safety Coordinator Marcus Early and his team were recognized for achieving a 100% score on a recent assessment conducted by TSA surface inspectors.
The assessment included backpacks being hidden on school bus floors during the night, unbeknownst to the drivers. Bus drivers perform inspections each morning prior to heading out to pick up children. During the assessment, they were challenged to find the hidden backpacks on their school buses and to call them in as a potential threat.
“We achieved a perfect score on the assessment, and that never happens,” said Early. “I am very, very proud of our bus drivers, and I want to credit them because they’re the reason TSA is here, because our bus drivers do an amazing job. The only reason these people are here from Atlanta, Birmingham and Mobile is because our bus drivers do such an amazing job.”
According to Mary Leftridge Byrd, Regional Security Directory, Surface Operations Division, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration, approximately 480,000 school buses transport 26 million students each school day nationally.
“This program supports a national strategy for performing risk mitigation. It is designed to establish very high security standards identified as fundamental for sound security. We are aware of no other partner where a perfect score has been achieved as has been achieved by Gulf Shores, which is amazing,” she said. “I believe this achievement is a direct result of administration support, focus and commitment to the safety and security of the drivers, the students and the school system. Clearly the bus drivers more than deserve recognition to their attention to steps necessary to ensure the safety of Gulf Shores students to a score of 100%.”
Along with receiving a perfect assessment score, Early said his team was recently tasked with filming new training videos to be shown in Alabama during CDL training.
“Anyone who goes through CDL training, whether it’s a truck driver or a bus driver, any type of CDL, all the videos they’re going to see are with our Gulf Shores people, our Gulf Shores community and our Gulf Shores buses,” he said. “So, tens of thousands of people are going to see Gulf Shores City Schools whenever they train in the state of Alabama.”
Early said Gulf Shores City Schools were also asked to do a test pilot program for the state of Alabama for new technology to be used by new or substitute bus drivers. The new technology will place a tablet in the hands of drivers that has bus routes pre-programed. Instead of following a route sheet, drivers unfamiliar with routes will now have a GPS system telling them when to turn and which addresses to stop at.
Early said they will continue the program for the next six months to collect data for the state. If the program is a success, Gulf Shores will initiate it for the state of Alabama.

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