School transportation is a very important part of the education process of our school system. Our goal is to provide safe, efficient transportation for all passengers to and from school and school events.
An essential ingredient in achieving this goal is appropriate student conduct on the bus. There are serious safety concerns involved with the operation of school buses and it is expected that all students will comply. When a bus driver’s attention is diverted because of misconduct, a serious safety hazard develops.
Education is required by state law, transportation is not. Because the bus is an extension of the school day, the code of conduct also applies to behavior on the bus. Eligibility to ride the bus may be revoked if students violate school bus conduct policy. This pamphlet explains the rules, regulations and policies of Williamson County Schools regarding student conduct while traveling on school system buses.
RULES & REGULATIONS
The rules and regulations regarding acceptable student conduct are developed by the cooperative effort of the Transportation Director, School Principals, Bus Drivers and Administrators. School children being transported on a school bus are under the supervision, direction and control of the school bus driver and shall be subject to the discipline of the bus driver and student’s principal. The bus driver will be competent and fair in dealing with students and will be responsible to the principal for the conduct of students on the bus.
Drivers will provide all students the safest, most comfortable, and least troublesome journey to and from school. In order to assure safe transportation while traveling on a bus, certain rules for pupils have been established by the Transportation Director.
- Students shall obey the driver. The driver must be totally in charge. Students shall respond promptly to instructions given.
- Each student will be seated in the seats which they are assigned, take their seats promptly upon entering the bus, and stay in their seat while the bus is in motion. No windows or doors will be opened or closed except by permission of the bus driver.
- Students will not be allowed to tease, scuffle, trip, hold, hit or use their hand, feet or body in any objectionable manner.
- The use of electronic devices or other items in a manner that might interfere with the school bus communication equipment or the driver’s operation of the school bus is prohibited. This may include but is not limited to cell phones, audible radios, tape or compact disc players, mirrors, lasers, flash cameras or other reflective devices.
- The use of alcohol, illegal drugs, tobacco, eating, chewing gum or soda drinks on the bus is prohibited.
- Students must observe classroom conduct. Ordinary conversation is permitted. Loud, boisterous, profane language and obscene gestures or indecent conduct will not be tolerated.
- Students must keep the aisles clear of items such as musical instruments, books, backpacks, etc. If student must carry such items, they will NOT occupy another student seat nor extend above the seat back. Animals (alive or dead), oversized objects as well as glass containers are not permitted.
- At no time will a student put hands, head or other body parts out the window.
- Students must treat bus equipment as they would the furniture in their homes. Any damage to bus seats, windows, equipment, etc., will be charged to responsible student.
- STUDENTS MUST HAVE A BUS PERMIT TO RIDE ANY BUS OTHER THAN THEIR ASSIGNED BUS. Parents must send written notice in advance to school principal with appropriate information for child to ride a different bus. Principal or their designee will approve and issue a Bus Permit. STUDENT WILL GIVE BUS PERMIT TO BUS DRIVER WHEN THEY BOARD THE BUS.
- Students will not ask the driver to let them off at such places as a store, job, etc. All extra stops must be approved in writing by the school principal or designee or Transportation Department in advance.
- Students are asked to use the hand rail when getting on and off the school bus.
- If students must cross the street or road to board the bus, they must wait for the driver’s signal. They must cross well in front of the bus.
- Students are expected to do the following:
- Be at the stop 5 minutes PRIOR to scheduled pickup time
- Never run to catch the bus
- While waiting for the bus — stay clear of the roadway & wait in an orderly line
- Never exit using the rear door unless in an emergency and directed by the bus driver
Failure to follow the Rules & Regulations may result in the following disciplinary actions:
1st Offense – Driver completes Bus Behavior Referral Form & submits to Principal
2nd Offense – Principal notifies Parent
3rd Offense – Suspension from school bus
Extreme or zero-tolerance offenses may by-pass the above steps for immediate bus suspension.
Parents must assume responsibility for the behavior of their children while their children are riding the bus. If permission to ride the bus is revoked, the parent must provide transportation to and from school for the student until such time as reinstatement is made.
Following are answers provided by WCS Transportation to some of the more frequently asked questions regarding local transportation:
How do I find information regarding my child’s bus stop? Zone Query
What if my child does not have a bus stop; how do I get one and how long will it take?
Current bus stop information can be found via the WebQuery for bus routes. Should a bus stop not be available within .25 miles of the new student home address, parents are encouraged to contact WCS Transportation and provide new address for bus stop. The transportation routing specialist technician will be notified daily of new stops. The number of changes and work to be processed will affect the turnaround time for a child to receive a new bus stop or change to an existing stop. The transportation department’s goal is to have all bus stops assigned within 2 – 3 working days from the date of notice. School administrators should issue a “bus pass” for the student to give to the bus driver.
If I need a different bus stop for my child, i.e. daycare, grandma, or friend’s home, what do I do?
Students are assigned bus service to and from their home address within their zoned school. If a student intends to ride a bus different from their assigned bus or get off at a different bus stop other than their assigned stop, they must have a note signed by the principal for the bus driver. School Administration will issue a Bus Permit with the appropriate bus number and street address. If the stop is to be permanent, parent/ guardian should indicate such in their written request to school so it can be indicated on the bus permit.
We have moved and I need to change my child’s address for bus stop and information address, how do I do this?
The parent/guardian needs to contact the school with the new address and provide proof of residence address. A new bus assignment and stop will be scheduled accordingly. If the address is not correct or is not updated, Transportation cannot be held responsible for the location a child is picked up or dropped off.
My child’s bus has not shown up and/or is consistently late; whom can I call?
The parent should contact WCS Transportation to discuss their concern and receive resolution. Please be patient at the beginning of school due to the number of changes in schedules and also the number of calls being handled in transportation office. The goal is to serve all customers in a timely fashion and with accuracy.
Are parents and/or authorized persons required to accompany a student at a bus stop ?
All students, aged K-12, may wait for the bus and be discharged from the bus without the presence of an adult and/or authorized responsible party. WCS strongly recommends a parent/guardian be at the bus stop for their K students.
The bus did not show up on time for my child. How long should he or she wait at the stop?
Your child should arrive at the stop at least five (5) minutes before the regular arrival time of the bus. If there is a substitute driver, the times may not be absolutely consistent with the regular times. If the bus is late–ask your child to remain at the stop. Buses break down, roads are blocked, drivers become ill or have emergencies, but there will always be a bus at every stop. If the wait becomes extreme, please call the transportation office.
My child left a coat (glasses, cell phone, retainer, books) on the bus. How does the student get it back?
Drivers check their buses after every run. Items left by students are held by the driver for several days and may be claimed on the bus by the child. You can help by labeling all of your child’s school belongings with the child’s name and school.
Do state regulations for school buses supersede federal requirements?
No. State laws do not supersede federal requirements. State regulations for school buses can and usually do add requirements for safety. These requirements are additional to the federal requirements.
Why are buses sometimes late?
School bus drivers can have the same reasons as motorists for being late. Traffic delays, weather conditions, accidents or driver’s illness are just a few reasons. School buses also have mechanical breakdowns or “no starts” that cause delays in picking students up on time. In cases where the regularly assigned bus or driver is unable to pick up students, a separate bus and driver are dispatched to pick up the students as quickly as possible. Please contact the transportation area office that serves you child’s school.
Why are spare replacement buses needed?
Buses operate throughout the day with shuttles, and field trips, in addition to the normal to-and-from school transportation requirements. In order to have the required number of operational buses each day, a group of backup or spare buses must be retained. When a bus is in for service, a spare bus is required to continue its runs without interruption. Furthermore, when a bus has mechanical problems or damage from accident or vandalism that require it to be out of service, a spare bus is needed to perform the duties of the out-of-service bus. Often, this can be for an extended period of time, especially in the case of accident repairs.
SCHOOL ZONE FOR LOADING & UNLOADING
The Danger Zone is the area on all sides of the bus where children are in the most danger of being hit. Children should stay at least ten feet away from the bus (or as far away as they can) and never go behind it. They should take five (5) giant steps in front of the bus before crossing, so they can be seen by the driver.
SCHOOL BUSES ARE THE SAFEST WAY TO GET TO SCHOOL
School buses are nearly 8 times safer than passenger vehicles. However, children must take care when boarding or leaving the bus. While an average of 7 school-age passengers are killed in school bus crashes each year, 19 are killed getting on and off the bus.Most of those killed are children, five to seven years old. They are hit in the danger zone around the bus (A), either by a passing vehicle or by the school bus itself. It is illegal for a vehicle to pass a bus with its red light flashing.
Young children are most likely to be hit because they:
- hurry to get on or off the bus,
- act before they think and have little experience with traffic,
- assume motorists will see them and will wait for them to cross,
- don’t always stay within the bus driver’s sight, or
- drop something as they get off the bus and run into the path of the bus to pick it up.
TEACH YOUR CHILD TO GET ON AND OFF THE BUS SAFELY:
- When getting on the bus, stay away from the danger zone and wait for the driver’s signal. Board the bus one at a time.
- When getting off the bus, look before stepping off the bus to be sure no cars are passing on the shoulder (side of the road). Move away from the bus.
- Before crossing the street, take five “giant steps” out from the front of the bus, or until the driver’s face can be seen (A). Wait for the driver to signal that it is safe to cross.
- Look left-right-left when coming to the edge of the bus to make sure traffic is stopped. Keep watching traffic when crossing.
SAFETY STEPS YOU CAN TAKE:
- Supervise children to make sure they get to the stop on time, wait far away from the road, and avoid rough play.
- Teach your child to ask the driver for help if he/she drops something near the bus. If a child bends down to pick up something, the driver cannot see him/her and the child may be hit by the bus. Have your child use a backpack or book bag to keep loose items together.
- Make sure clothing and backpacks have no loose drawstrings or long straps, to be caught in the handrail or bus door.
- Encourage safe school bus loading and unloading.
- If you think a bus stop is in a dangerous place, talk with your school office or transportation director about changing the location.
LEARN AND FOLLOW SCHOOL BUS LAWS:
Laws exist to protect children getting on and off the bus AND protect you from a tragedy. Check with your school or police department for more information on your state’s laws. Here are some rules:
- Vehicles must stop when the bus displays flashing red warning lights and extends the stop signal arm (B). Vehicles may not pass until the flashing red lights and signals are turned off.
- Vehicles traveling in the same direction as the bus are always required to stop. In some states, vehicles moving in the opposite direction on a divided roadway are also required to stop. Check the law in your state.
- Never pass on the right side of the bus, where children enter or exit. This is illegal and can have tragic results.
Violation of these laws can result in a citation and fine. In many places, school bus drivers can report passing vehicles.
For more information, contact the DOT Auto Safety Hotline at 1-888-DASH-2-DOT
The Transportation Department is responsible for daily bus operations, dispatching buses, fleet maintenance, safety, and driver training. Williamson County Schools currently has the eighth largest transportation fleet in the State of Tennessee. These units drive approximately 16,500 miles each day or over 2.9 million miles yearly just taking students to and from school. These miles do not include athletic trips, mid-day special education programs, field trips, or special summer programs. Williamson County Schools recognize the transportation of students as an essential part of our public education system, requires the cooperation, and devoted efforts of many individuals. It is the goal of Williamson County Schools to provide eligible students the safest and most efficient transportation service in the country.
Transportation for students requiring special services is available for eligible students. Special services is determined at the student’s IEP meeting when the student cannot use regular bus service due to physical, health or behavioral needs. Services are requested through teachers, school administration, and the Student Support Services department. Upon written approval from SSS, the transportation department will assign the student to a bus. It is the goal to have bus assignment arranged approximately five (5) school days after the receipt of approved request by the SSS. Parents/guardians will be notified by the bus driver of the approximate pickup and drop off times.