The district will adopt a comprehensive school trip safety program that addresses bus safety, walking and biking route plans; vehicle access to the school, circulation and parking at the school; pedestrian circulation on and around the school campus; and safety education and enforcement.
A. Safety Advisory Committee
The superintendent will establish a Safety Advisory Committee (SAC) pursuant to WAC 392-151-017 to develop and maintain a comprehensive school trip safety program. The committee will also review and approve each school’s routes to school plan. The superintendent will develop specific responsibilities and reporting relationships of the committee, including how the SAC relates to individual school safety programs.
B. Bus Safety
- The superintendent will develop written rules establishing the procedures for bus safety and emergency exit drills and for student conduct while riding on buses. The procedures for bus safety will include rules restricting bus access to students and those persons authorized by the superintendent and/or their designee(s) to ride the bus to and from any school activity.
- All vehicles used to transport students will be maintained in a condition that will provide safe and efficient transportation service with a minimum of delay and disruption due to mechanical or equipment failure. Buses will be replaced at such intervals as required to provide good equipment at all times.
- The bus driver is responsible for the safety of their passengers, particularly for those who cross a roadway after leaving the bus. No bus driver will order or allow a student to disembark at other than their designated bus stop unless so authorized. In order to assure the safety of all, the bus driver may hold students accountable for their conduct during the course of transportation and may recommend corrective action against a student. Bus drivers are expressly prohibited from using corporal punishment. Bus drivers are expressly prohibited from allowing anyone to board the bus who is not a student, or a person authorized to ride the bus by the superintendent and/or their designee(s).
In the event of an accident or other emergency, the bus driver will follow the emergency procedures in accordance with the school bus driver handbook (OSPI). A copy of the emergency procedures will be located in each bus. To insure the success of such emergency procedures, each bus driver will conduct an emergency evacuation drill within the first six weeks of each school semester. The district will conduct such other drills and procedures as may be necessary.
D. Student Conduct on Buses
- The superintendent will establish written rules of conduct for students riding school buses. Such rules will include as a minimum the requirements of WAC 392-145-021.
- At the beginning of each school year, a copy of the rules of conduct for students riding buses will be provided to each student who is scheduled to ride a school bus. The rules and expectations are available on the district website for students and families to review. A copy of the rules will be available upon request at the district office.
E. Routes to School Plan
- Pursuant to WAC 392-151-025, all elementary schools that have students who walk to and from school are required to develop a suggested route plan. All schools are encouraged to have a walking/biking route plan in place. The assistant superintendent and transportation director will work together to develop the school walking/biking route plans and may include community member input.
- A routes to school walking/biking map or plan will be developed based on a walk/bike assessment with a one-mile radius from each school. The plan will recommend the best routes for students walking/biking to and from school. In developing the plan utilize the Bellingham Public Schools pupil transportation plan, guidelines for providing pupil transportation services.
At a minimum the following will be considered:
a. Grade of student;
b. Location of walkway;
c. Speed of traffic;
d. Volume of traffic;
e. Roadway crossing(s);
f. Railroad track crossing(s);
g. Length of hazardous section(s);
h. Type of intersection control(s);
i. Width of roadway(s); and
The district will make available to families the suggested walk/bike routes and encourage those who walk and bike to school to use the recommended routes.
RCW 28A.600.010 Enforcement of rules of conduct — Due process guarantees — Computation of days for short-term and long-term suspensions
Policy News, 2014 – June Issue