Thursday, September 9, 2010

Parents Please Make Sure Your Children Behave On The School Bus

In accordance with state law, N.J.S.A. 18A:39-1, all public elementary school students (grades K-8) who live more than two miles from their school and all public secondary school students (grades 9-12) who live more than two-and-a-half miles from their school are entitled to transportation. These students are said to live “remote from school.” Whenever a school district is required to provide transportation to students attending regular public school programs, students attending nonpublic schools who meet those distance requirements may also be entitled to transportation services. In addition, any student classified with special needs who either meets these distance requirements or for whom transportation is required in the student’s Individual Education Plan must be transported.

While this is the law, it is a great enabler of horrible behavior on our school buses. If a child refuses to behave properly on the bus, we ought to be able to remove that child from the bus and hold the parent(s) accountable and responsible for getting their children (who refuse to behave on the bus) to school. I have witnessed students on these buses; running; throwing things out of the windows; spitting out of the windows; fighting on the bus; hitting the bus aide; jumping up and down on the seats; etc, etc. etc. and all of this is while the bus is in motion. Parents please help your children understand the importance of their behavior when they are traveling to and from school on their school bus.

Most (if not all) of our students are operating under the mindset that it cannot happen to them with the “it” being a fatal school bus accident, when in reality it can indeed happen. Children who are doing anything on the bus other than sitting and talking quietly become a distraction to the bus driver thereby increasing his/her likelihood of becoming involved in an accident. The following link provides traffic safety facts through 2008 It can happen to you.

Attorney Mark Bello in his blog The Injury Board BlogNetwork offers the following tips for safety when riding a school bus that I agree with:

1. When you see the bus coming, line up about ten feet from the curb. Wait until the bus comes to a complete stop and the driver advises it is safe to board. The driver is the only one who can view all traffic on the road.

2. If you must cross the street to board the bus, wait for the bus to come to a complete stop and for the driver to flash the red lights; look both ways before you cross.

3. Once aboard, listen to the driver; don’t rush or push others out of the way.,

4. Behave on the bus; do not do things that will distract the driver. Some examples:

■Stay in your seat

■Keep the noise level down

■Keep head, hands, and feet inside the bus

■Don’t throw things inside the bus or out the windows

■Keep the bus clean

■Cooperate with the driver; always follow his or her instructions

■Stay out of the ‘Danger Zone’–anywhere within 10 feet of the bus

■Don’t try to stop a moving bus to retrieve something you forgot.

■Don’t try to pick up something that you dropped underneath the bus.

If our children follow these guidelines, it will go a long way towards ensuring safe passage between home and school and school and home. Again, I ask parents to speak with their children and require them to behave on the school bus. Their life and other lives are at risk when they do not. As the old saying goes, “The life you save may be your own.”

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