McDuffie County School Bus drivers are now a part of Homeland Security. The drivers recently completed training by Highway Watch¨∆, which is a national safety and security program administered by the American Trucking Association and the U.S. Transportation Security Administration.
The short training program took place at Thomson High School, and included videos showing how terrorists operate, how to recognize unusual behavior, and safety issues such as accidents, disabled vehicles and road hazards. The Highway Watch¨∆ effort seeks to prevent terrorists from using large vehicles or cargoes as weapons.
McDuffie County Schools bus drivers pose with their certificates received for completion of training by Highway Watch(R).
McDuffie School District bus driver Tracy Reese said the training was informative, and opened his eyes to things he hadn't considered before. Mr. Reese said he was most surprised to see photos of past terrorists that didn't fit his stereotype of what a terrorist should look like.
"What surprised me was that one ... was a female. ... There is no similar face to a terrorist. ... That stuck out to me more than anything. ...You could have a terrorist that's a US citizen ... even your next door neighbor," said Mr. Reese, who has driven a school bus for 10 years.
At the monthly Board of Education meeting, each of the 42 McDuffie school bus drivers received a certificate of completion for the training. Also the drivers were given a card that identifies them as Highway Watch¨∆ participants, and contains phone numbers for them to call to report suspicious activity.
"I was glad that our country would put this on our shoulders, I'm proud. It doesn't make more work for us; it just creates more eyes and more ears," Mr. Reese said. "I feel like we owe it to our nation, we owe it to our community. I feel like Americans as a whole owe it to each other for the time we live in, that we take self-responsibility. It is important for us to be on the look out for these things. We need to be serious about it."