students riding a school bus

Category : Parenting Tips

Bus Rider Safety Tips

Monday , July 22 , 2019

Beginning a school year holds many new possibilities and opportunities. One of those opportunities is the chance to ride on the big, yellow school bus. It may seem a simple task: get on the bus and the bus takes you to school or home; however, there is much more to riding the bus that parents and students should know.

Bus Stop

Whether a student is a first-time rider or has been riding the bus ever since they were little, there are a few things that every parent and student should be aware of. One of the first things to know is when to get to the bus stop. It is recommended that each student is at the bus stop at least five minutes prior to the actual stop time. Every bus driver is responsible for transporting, and students need to be on time to all designated bus stops.

Staying Seated

After the students are on the bus, it is important that they find a seat quickly. After each student is seated, they must remain so,  as it is unsafe for the students to move about the bus while it is in motion. If the bus needs to stop suddenly, being in their seat will protect them from injury. Also, when a student stands or moves about, the driver could potentially be distracted by such actions. During the entire ride, please stay seated.

Eating on the Bus

As students board in the morning or afternoon, they may find that they are getting an appetite after their eight hours of sleep or a hard day of learning. While it may be tempting to pull out a granola bar or some other snack, please do not. Transportation understands that students are growing both intellectually and physically, which requires nutrients that come from food. However, eating on the bus is prohibited for all students’ safety. Eating while in motion is a choking hazard and while our drivers and aides are trained in CPR, it is better to take precautions.

Drinking on the Bus

Following the no eating rule, what happens if a student is thirsty? We live in Arizona where the heat calls most of the shots. One of the requirements of our climate is that everyone drinks plenty of water. Students are allowed to drink water on the school bus; however, keep in mind that the water must be in a plastic or metal container. That means no glass bottles at all. Safety dictates that plastic or metal bottles are acceptable whereas a glass bottle can pose a hazard. And while water is acceptable in plastic bottles, other things like soda or sports drinks are not permitted.

Riding with a Friend

Non-bus riders are permitted to ride along with other students under the following conditions. The first being that the non-bus riders can only ride if there is enough room on the bus. Unfortunately, with as many students as the district transports, there isn’t always an extra seat. If that is the case, the students who normally ride must take priority. The second condition is that the student who wishes to ride must have a note signed by their parent or guardian, which includes a contact phone number. This note must be given to the school for verification and copying, and the original will be given to the bus driver as the student boards the bus. We are not allowed to transport non-bus riders without this verified written permission note.

Special Needs

Quite a few of the buses transport students with special needs. While the same rules apply for all students, there are a few tips for parents of students with special needs. All special needs students who are not in a wheelchair (standard or electronic), must be able to walk up the steps unassisted. Parents of preschoolers cannot board the bus or carry their child on the bus. The student must be able to walk up the steps on his or her own. This is for safety reasons, both for the student and the parent. While there may be special cases, this is a good rule of thumb.

Kindergarten Students

There are special rules for kindergarten students. Unlike with other grades, a kindergartener cannot get off the bus unless a parent or guardian is present. If the parent or guardian is not at the bus stop, the driver will have to return the student to school for his or her safety. Now if a parent wishes the kindergarten student to be released to an older sibling, they need to ask their bus driver for the appropriate form to fill out. Each driver carries the form needed and can give them to parents to complete. Without that form, the kindergarten student cannot be released to anyone but the parent or guardian.

Be Respectful

In addition to the general rules, it is important for students to be courteous. It is always good practice to respect the bus driver. Stay seated and refrain from using profanity. Not only is it disrespectful to the bus driver, but also to your fellow students. Student safety is a high priority for PVSchools, every student riding the bus and how they choose to behave determines the atmosphere on the bus. Please be courteous to the driver and fellow students.


About the Author

Victoria Jones has been working in the Paradise Valley Unified School District for more than three years. She earned an Associate of Arts in Pre-Secondary Education from Carl Albert State College and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Phoenix. Victoria’s passionate about building a successful career and reading as many books as possible.