Saturday, August 30, 2008

Lack of School Bus Security Provides Opportunities for Terrorists

The latest Fox News report entitled "Thieves Ruin Dallas County School Buses" illustrates just how terrorists might access school bus yards and just how vulnerable students may still be to bus related terror attacks. But this problem is not limited to Dallas County - it is a risk nationwide.

All one has to do is search the Web for instances of school bus vandalism to understand the risk. Lack of security lighting, fencing, and guards are commonplace, and since 9/11 demonstrate how some responsible for protecting buses are still slow to react. Incidents where buses are vandalized for copper wiring and other sellable parts continue to make local and national news.

Shortly after 9/11 Asset Control's ChooseToCare division was asked to develop a proactive guide to the prevention of terrorism in public schools. The end result was the "Proactive Guide" (short name). The guide highlighted the risk to unprotected or inadequately protected school bus yards and provided guidance for those responsible for protecting this important area of infrastructure. Asset Control and ChooseToCare would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that our children are our most precious assets.

Worldwide, there is a history of terror attacks against school children and the buses that carry them. Thankfully, none have occurred domestically. The full text of the guide can be found at the U.S. Department of Education's ERIC Web site at: http://eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2sql/content_storage_01/0000019b/80/1a/e0/cb.pdf

Unfettered access to school bus yards costs schools dearly in terms of lost assets. But more than that, poorly protected lots may afford terrorists the opportunity to plant explosives or place harmful biological or chemical residue on seat backs or on other surfaces that will come in contact with students or drivers.

Asset Control & ChooseToCare has given thoughtful consideration to publishing material, such as this, that might be considered "sensitive" by some. However, it is our assessment that exposures such as these are already known to those determined to cause us harm. We firmly believe that increasing awareness is paramount. This is an important issue that goes well beyond the expense involved in repairing vandalized buses or the delays incurred in getting kids to school. This is an important safety matter that deserves immediate attention by school boards, school safety officers, and parents alike. Please watch the video. Remember, the point of showing the the video is that the News totally missed the point!

To play the Fox News video clip click on the play button below.

video

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