New Jersey Mandates Special Needs Training for School Bus Drivers and Aides

New Jersey has a new law requiring special needs training for school bus drivers and aides.

The bill was signed into law by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Nov. 9, according to Autism New Jersey, the organization that supported the legislation and urged the governor to sign it. Training for bus drivers and aides will include “appropriate behavior management, effective communication, use and operation of adaptive equipment and understanding behaviors that may be related to specific disabilities,” according to the New Jersey State Legislature.

The law also includes the requirement that, with parental consent, school districts must provide student information cards assigned to each student for bus drivers and aides.

Children with special needs require specialized attention and care. Bus drivers and aides should be aware of behaviors associated with certain disabilities, and know how to effectively deal with them so to avoid any confusion and accidental mistreatment of these students,” Assemblyman Dan Benson, who sponsored the bill, said, according to Autism New Jersey. “It makes their job easier and ensures that these students are being treated with the respect they deserve.”

The law goes into effect immediately, but the details of the trainings, including when they will begin, will be determined by the Department of Education.

“It’s encouraging to see the legislature and administration making individuals with autism a priority,” Suzanne Buchanan, Executive Director of Autism New Jersey, told The Mighty in an email. “We look forward to continuing this momentum with them to address other critical needs.”

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