A. Student Conduct on Buses
Any misconduct by a student, which in the opinion of the bus driver or bus supervisor, is detrimental to the safe operation of the bus will be sufficient cause for the principal to suspend the transportation privilege.
1. Rules of conduct for students riding buses:
a. Students will obey the driver and any aide assigned to the bus by the district. The driver is in full charge of the bus and passengers. If an aide is assigned to the bus by the district, he/she may be responsible for student safety on the bus. When transporting classes or teams, the teacher or coach will be primarily responsible for the behavior of the students. Students will obey both the driver and the teacher, coach or other staff member.
b. Students will ride only on their assigned bus unless written permission to do otherwise has been received by school officials.
c. Students will not be permitted to leave the bus except at their regular stop unless written permission to do otherwise is received by school officials.
d. Students assigned seats will use only that seat unless permission to change is authorized by the driver.
e. Students will observe rules of classroom conduct while riding on buses. Noise will be kept down to avoid distracting the driver. Students will refrain from the use of obscene language or gestures.
f. Students will not smoke, use tobacco products, e-cigarettes or ignite lighters or matches on buses.
g. Students will not eat on buses, except when specifically authorized and supervised by and accompanying teacher, coach or another staff member.
h. Buses will be kept clean.
i. Students will not open bus windows without the driver’s permission.
j. Students will not extend any part of their body out of bus windows at any time.
k. Students will not carry or have in their possession items that can cause injury to passengers on the bus. Such items include, but are not limited to, sticks, breakable containers, weapons or firearms, straps or pins protruding from clothing, large, bulky items which cannot be held or placed between legs, etc. Books and personal belongings will be kept out of aisles.
l. Students will not have animals on buses, except one providing assistance to a disabled student.
m. Students will not sit in the driver’s seat.
n. Students will refrain from talking to the driver unless necessary.
o. Students will go directly to a seat once inside the bus and remain seated at all times unless the driver instructs otherwise.
p. Students will get on/off the bus in an orderly manner and will obey the instructions of the driver or school safety patrolmen on duty. There will be no pushing and shoving when boarding or leaving the bus. Once off the bus, students will adhere to rules for pedestrians.
q. Students will never cross the roadway behind a bus.
r. Students will stand away from the roadway curb when any bus is approaching or leaving a stop.
s. Students will go directly to their home after leaving the bus.
t. Students will use lap belts on buses when available.
u. Students will follow emergency exit drill procedures as prescribed by the driver.
v. Students will not tamper with emergency doors or equipment.
w. Students will remain quietly seated, not exhibit disruptive behavior and turn off all noise-making devices at highway rail grade crossings.
x. Parents of students identified as causing damage to buses will be charged with the cost of the incurred damage. Students causing the damage may be suspended from transportation.
y. Student misconduct will constitute sufficient reason for suspending transportation privileges.
B. Disciplinary Procedures
- Principals are responsible for correcting students whose abusive behavior results in a bus-incident report or violates the rules above. The principal will provide supervision during bus arrival and departure times and receive reports (written and oral) from the drivers.
- The principal will ensure that students comply with the specified regulations. Principals must maintain open lines of communication among school officials, bus drivers and transportation.
- When waiting for a bus, or going to and from a bus stop, students are responsible for conducting themselves according to the social and legal mores that apply to adults in public. That is, they must not abuse or cause damage to private or public property; they must not use obscene language or gestures; they must not engage in criminal activity. Failure to adhere to these standards may result in formal complaints by citizens which may be forwarded to principals for possible corrective action.
- Students provided with transportation are responsible for complying with the district’s rules of conduct for students riding buses. Failure to adhere to these rules, or abusive behavior towards the public, driver, fellow passengers or the vehicle constitutes justification for initiating corrective action against a student.
- Abusive behavior on the part of a student riding a bus may result in a written report when, in the opinion of the driver or bus supervisor, there has been an infraction of the rules applicable to student conduct. The written report is the primary means by which a driver or bus supervisor communicates a student’s conduct to the school and transportation. This report, in most cases, reflects an infraction of rules which is repeated by the student after their having received previous oral warnings from the driver or bus supervisor. In order for drivers and bus supervisors to effectively maintain control on their buses, it is expected that action be exercised by principals when receiving such a report.
- When a student’s conduct constitutes an infraction of the rules, the driver or bus supervisor will complete a report on the student describing the incident or damage that occurred. The driver or bus supervisor will provide the student with a copy of the report, hand the original report to the principal and submit a copy to the transportation supervisor. The copy of the report concerning special education students will be given to the principal for disposition.
- The principal upon receiving the report will investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident and take action according to the procedures set forth in the district’s policies pertaining to corrective action and punishment. When investigating the incident, the primary concern must be with respect to the safe transport of students. Corrective action, if necessary, should be consistent throughout the district as follows:
a. Warning: When a student’s misconduct is of a minor nature which does not jeopardize the safety or welfare of other students or the operation of the bus.
b. Suspension: When a student’s misconduct is deemed to jeopardize the safety of bus passengers and operation, or when repeated warning notices fail to correct abusive behavior, or when a student incurs damage to the bus.
c. Expulsion: When a student’s misconduct is of such nature that the safety of the bus operation and/or of the occupants was willfully and seriously threatened (i.e., e.g. student assaulting the driver).
8. The action taken by the principal will be annotated on the report and forwarded to the student’s parent for signature. Transportation will be notified.
9. Drivers will be advised to file assault and battery charges against students who physically assault them. Under no circumstances will the driver retaliate in kind and physically assault the student as this conduct may subject them to legal action.
10. The student or parent of a student who has been suspended from receiving transportation entitlements may appeal the principal’s decision by submitting a written statement to the superintendent. The superintendent will render a decision after evaluating the issues and facts involved.
- Each driver has access to the school bus driver’s handbook (OSPI), which outlines emergency procedures. In turn, drivers are expected to follow the procedure as outlined in the handbook. At the start of each field trip or extracurricular trip, the school bus driver will review with all passengers the location and use of the emergency exits, emergency equipment and any district emergency procedures.
- Emergency evacuation drills will be conducted regularly on school premises to thoroughly acquaint students with appropriate procedures for emergency situations. One emergency evacuation drill shall be held within the first six weeks of school each semester. If it is not possible to do so within this period, a makeup drill shall be scheduled as soon as possible. The first drill shall be followed by at least one verbal review of the emergency evacuation drill prior to the second drill.
- Only those students whose participation in the drill poses substantial difficulty to themselves or other passengers shall be excused and/ or excluded from taking part in the drill. Passengers who are excluded shall receive oral instruction in bus safety and drills at least three times during the school year.
- In the event of a collision, the driver will make contact with the transportation supervisor or dispatcher who will:
a. Determine their location and the nature of the collision;
b. Contact emergency services if there is reason to believe that there are injuries which require immediate attention;
c. Contact the state patrol regarding the accident;
d. Advise the superintendent of schools;
e. Investigate the collision and gather the names of all students and witnesses;
f. Dispatch another bus to transport the student to their destination, if needed; and
g. Contact the parent(s) or guardian(s) of any students who are injured.
To facilitate the responsibilities assigned to transportation, the supervisor, in cooperation with the school principals, will compile a list of students, including addresses and phone numbers that are authorized to ride each bus route.