Deb Paulin

School Bus Driver - President of the Alden Central Schools Employees Association

“I’ve been a bus driver for 33 years and people don’t get it. As a mother and grandmother — and one who loves the kids under my care — it makes me sick when drivers illegally pass school buses. I had a woman flip me off as my lights were blinking as she passed.”

The Stop Arm Camera bill NYSUT is fighting for at the state Capitol, Paulin said, would hold motorists accountable since there are times drivers are “speeding so fast we can’t get their license plates.” If a child on her bus were ever injured — or killed — by a motorist passing a stopped school bus, she said, “I would never get over it. It would be the worst nightmare I could ever encounter... It could be vehicular homicide.”

“The only thing I want out of my day is to get my kids home safely. I want those people to be punished, to be fined, to get a mark on their license. Unless they learn, nothing is ever going to change. I am passionate about that. You’re messing with my kids. People might say, ‘Why are the cops out ticketing us? Why aren’t they out chasing criminals?’ Well guess what: You are a criminal.”

Paulin pointed out that motorists charged with passing stopped buses are too often able to plead their case down to a parking ticket. That, she said, must end.

Paulin said that legislation allowing buses to be equipped with stop-arm cameras would ensure student safety, as would another bill NYSUT is advocating that would require all buses statewide be staffed with a safety monitor.

It would be a good idea to have monitors on every bus, especially with young children, to make sure they are crossing the street safely. She added that monitors are “absolutely needed” for students with special needs, who often need assistance during their entire bus ride to and from school.

“The monitors play a vital, vital role for children with special needs. They play a vital role for small children — kindergartners, first- and second-graders. Most of the fatalities that have happened over the past years have been on bright sunny days with younger aged children. Having a monitor would make life so much easier.”

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© 2019 New York State United Teachers

© 2019 New York State United Teachers