The main goal for a retired Sheriff’s deputy who recently started a new school bus transportation company in Detroit six months ago is to provide safe, reliable yellow bus transportation to students with an emphasis on preventing bullying.
News reports came out this week about Step-Up Transportation, founded by Larry Cunningham, a 50-year-old former Wayne County Sheriff’s deputy. He conceived this concept for his business after becoming school bus certified and working as a substitute teacher with the Detroit Public Schools.
A Walsh College alumnus and current student, Cunningham turned his business concept into reality after gaining resources through an MBA program. He also holds a finance degree.
Cunningham and his wife run the new company and will employ retired law enforcement trained bus drivers to transport elementary and middle school students to and from school and field trips in a safe, non-threatening environment.
According to news reports, the company will launch with its first contract with Most Holy Trinity Elementary School in Corktown (pre-K to eighth grade), providing bus transportation for field trips. Cunningham hopes to grow the service for other smaller charter and parachoial schools in the next year or two.
His hope is that his drivers will provide a safer and more enjoyable ride for everyone. “Having that person present helps. In the police academy, you’re trained for conflict resolution. There a lot of different techniques,” Cunningham said in an article.
Additionally, the school buses will equipped with a “bully box,” located next to the driver for children who feel threatened on the bus. If a student places a note into the box, protocol will call for the driver to immediately alert the school for a quick and effective solution. Other measures include having pre-determined safety stops along a route, such as a post office or police station, so students can feel safe to ask for help, and children are less likely to encounter trouble.
“We can go a little bit further than just dropping kids off at school and help combat bullying by extending education and training inside the school bus system, as we promote positive adult role models,” Cunningham said in another article.