Expectations for Bus Passengers
I. STUDENT READINESS
While safety is our top priority, anyone in the transportation industry would have to admit that time is also a major concern. To provide good service, we must keep route times as short as possible and avoid any unnecessary delays.
1st: Passengers are expected to be ready to load on time. Having the bus wait for students at each stop may sound like a good idea, but it really isn’t in the best interests of our students. For instance, if a bus route has 22 stops and the driver waits 1 minute at each stop, the first child on the route would have to board the bus 22 minutes earlier and ride the bus 22 minutes longer each day. The same route, even with just a 30 second wait at each stop, would require the first child on the route to board the bus 11 minutes earlier and ride the bus 11 minutes longer. The fact is, everyone on the bus, except the last passenger, would have to get up earlier and ride the bus longer, just for the privilege of being waited on.
2nd: Passengers are expected to take a seat quickly after loading and be ready to unload before arriving at their destination. Passengers should never cause delays or safety risks by taking excessive time loading or unloading. Before the bus reaches the stop, and has traffic backed up, students should make sure they have all their property together and that they are ready to unload.
II. STUDENT SAFETY COMPLIANCE
Each year in the United States, an average of 19 children forfeit their lives in accidents connected with loading or unloading from a school bus. The following basic preventative measures should help to insure that none of the children in our district should ever become a part of such unfortunate statistics.
1st: Arrive at your designated bus stop early. Students rushing to catch a bus seldom pay attention to oncoming traffic and often get too close to the bus without making sure that the driver sees them.
2nd: Stay at least ten feet away from the bus. Students must never get within ten feet of the bus, unless it has completely stopped and the driver has motioned them to approach the front door. Students should never walk behind or along the sides of the bus. If students need to cross the street, they should walk at least 10 feet ahead of the bus, and wait until the driver motions for them to cross.
3rd: Remain seated and facing forward while on the bus. Although school buses don’t have seat belts, through the use of compartmentalized seating and other safety features, they have proven to be several times safer than regular passenger automobiles. To best take advantage of this design, it is important for all passengers to remain seated until the bus makes a complete stop and the drives instructs them to begin unloading.
III. STUDENT BEHAVIOR
There are four basic principles that should govern the conduct of school bus passengers. These principles are easy to understand, and when observed, negate the need for a lengthy list of rules.
1st: Behaviors which are not appropriate in other places are most likely not acceptable on the bus or at the bus stop. Each year, most misconduct reports are written for behaviors that are inappropriate anywhere and at anytime. For example, most of the bus misconduct reports in 2006 were for behaviors such as fighting, scuffling, spitting on or bothering others, profanity, vandalism, stealing, excessive noise and the throwing of objects on the bus or out of the bus windows. Behaviors that are unacceptable both at school and in the family car, will not be tolerated on the school bus either.
2nd: Behaviors that infringe upon the rights of others are not acceptable on the bus or at the bus stop. Students should be able to wait at the bus stop or ride a relatively quiet bus home, without other passengers bothering their person or property. Anyone expecting to utilize the USD 320 bus transportation system must behave respectfully toward others.
3rd: Behaviors that distract the bus driver are not acceptable. Bus drivers need to have their attention focused on safely driving the bus. With the safety of passengers, pedestrians and other motorists at stake, it is important for each student to create and maintain a relatively quiet and non-distractive environment on the bus.
4th: Behaviors that create unsafe conditions are not acceptable. For your own, and the safety of others, it is important for you to fully cooperate with all safety instructions—whether written or given verbally by the driver.
USD 320 School Bus Discipline Plan
When students misbehave on the bus or at bus stops, it not only creates an unsafe condition by distracting the driver, it also infringes on the rights of other passengers. For this reason, misconduct will not be tolerated. The following briefly outlines and explains the procedures that will be used when students misbehave on the bus.
Good behavior on the bus is the responsibility of each rider. While bus drivers will attempt to help resolve minor infractions, each student is still responsible for their behavior on the bus and at bus stops. In the event of misbehavior, the driver will give the student a verbal warning and call their parents. Any further disregard for rules or misbehavior regardless of the nature, will require that a written misconduct report be turned in.
*First Written Misconduct Report
Hopefully most discipline problems will be resolved with the combined efforts of the driver and the parents. But in the event that a student’s behavior does not improve, the driver will fill out a written misconduct report and call the parents. The safety and the personal rights of other passengers cannot be forfeited because of the misconduct of a few. After receiving the first written misconduct report, the transportation director will meet with the student at the school and also call the parents. A copy of this discipline plan, bus expectations and the completed misconduct report will be mailed to the parents. A meeting with the parents, the driver and the transportation director may be scheduled if necessary or requested by the parents.
*Second Written Misconduct Report
After receiving the second written misconduct report, the director will meet with the student at the school and call the parents. A copy of this discipline plan, bus expectations and the completed misconduct report will be mailed to the parents. The student will lose bus-riding privileges for 5 school days. A meeting with the parents, the driver and the transportation director may be scheduled if necessary or requested by the parents.
*Third Written Misconduct Report
Same as the second report, but the student will lose bus-riding privileges for 15 school days and a meeting with the parents, the driver and the transportation director will be scheduled.
*Fourth Written Misconduct Report
Same as the second report, but the student will lose bus-riding privileges for 45 school days and a meeting with the parents, the driver and the transportation director will be scheduled.
*Fifth Written Misconduct Report
Same as the second report, but the student will lose bus-riding privileges for the rest of the year and a meeting with the parents, the driver and the transportation director will be scheduled.
Behaviors listed below will result in an immediate written report and a 5 day loss of bus-riding privileges or the next level of consequences, whichever is greater.
- Obscene language or behavior
- Throwing objects in or out of the bus
- Possession of weapons (Treated according to USD 320 Weapons Policy)
- Destroying bus property
- Refusal to obey the driver
- Use or possession of tobacco, drugs or alcohol
- Abuse or harassment directed at the driver or students (Physical or Verbal)
Remember, bus service is a privilege and not a right. In fact, the cost of transportation for most USD 320 passengers is a service for which the district does not receive any funding from the state or federal government.