As Press staff writer Nathan Baker reported last month, a policy put into place two years ago by the Johnson City Transit Authority forbids boys and girls from sitting together on the school bus.
City Transit Authority Director Eldonna Janutolo told Baker she believes segregating the sexes is the best way of preventing mischief on a traveling school bus.
“We try to keep the kids separated from front to back and from side to side,” she said Wednesday. “It improves behavior and reduces the opportunities for misbehavior.”
Janutolo said the policy is enforced mainly among middle and high school students, and makes loading the buses easier because students waiting for pick up at their respective schools already line up by gender.
The Press was alerted to the bus policy by a comment posted on our Facebook page. It was from a Liberty Bell Middle School student who questioned the wisdom of separating students on the bus by their gender.
Janutolo, however, told Baker that gender separation is one of the several successful techniques used by the school system to keep daily commutes safe and free of trouble. And she sees no reason to change it.
“We don’t ask the parents what they think is a great idea,” she said, responding to a question about feedback collected on the policy. “We try to maintain as safe and efficient a ride as possible, and whatever we need to do to do that, that’s what we do.”
We’d like to hear what you think of this policy. Should girls and boys be segregated on Johnson City school buses?
Send your comments to Mailbag, P.O. Box 1717 Johnson City, TN 37605-1717, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, telephone number and address for verification.
We will print your responses on the Opinion pages in the coming weeks.