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Student School Bus Handbook

Transportation Center in Issaquah

2019-2020 School Bus Information Handbook for Parents and Students

WELCOME to the Issaquah School District. This handbook was prepared by the Issaquah School District Transportation Department to provide useful information to parents and students. It includes information about student conduct, school bus rules, emergency evacuation procedures, bus passes, parent-driver communication and other important information. We enjoy working with the District’s children, and we look forward to making their daily bus ride a safe and pleasant experience. You can reach the Transportation Department by calling 425-837-6333.

TRANSPORTATION STAFF

Director of Transportation        Coleen Xaudaro 
Transportation Supervisors    Bridget Anderson & Laurie Mulvihill
Dispatch Coordinator    Tabatha Love 
Routing Coordinator    Jimmy Tang 
Safety/Training Coordinator   Gina Stevens 
Administrative Assistant to the Director     


BUS CONDUCT

The goal of Transportation Services is to provide safe and timely bus service for the District’s students. To do this, drivers must be able to concentrate on operating vehicles in a variety of traffic conditions, always being alert and vigilant. Excessive noise or misconduct by bus passengers can distract a driver and endanger all students on the bus. Therefore, the support and cooperation of parents and students is needed to ensure acceptable behavior by all bus riders.

Students are expected to cooperate with their bus driver to promote bus safety. Each driver is given some latitude working with students to modify inappropriate behaviors. A bus citation may be written at any time during this process. A driver may confer with a student, change bus seating, assign a specific seat, reinforce student’s successes and establish consequence for inappropriate bus rider behavior. If violations of Bus Riding Rules continue, a written citation may be issued. For severe or hazardous conduct, a citation or bus suspension may follow.

Bus misconduct may be referred to the school principal for follow up which may include suspension and/or emergency removal and/or emergency expulsion from the bus.

STUDENT CONDUCT ON BUSES

Any misconduct by a student, which in the opinion of the bus driver or the director or transportation/designee is detrimental to the safe operations of the bus, shall be sufficient cause for the director of transportation/designee to suspend transportation privileges.

Rules of conduct for students riding buses are the following:

  • Students shall observe rules of classroom conduct while on buses and shall refrain from talking to the driver unless necessary.
  • Noise shall be kept down to avoid distracting the driver. Students shall refrain from profanity, obscene gestures, or offensive acts.
  • Spraying perfume including but not limited to any form of body spray, and scented hand sanitizer, is prohibited on the bus.
  • Throwing, tossing or shooting anything within, from or at the bus is prohibited.
  • Fighting, pushing, tripping, spitting, abusive language and violent behavior are prohibited on the bus and will not be to Harassment of any kind is prohibited.
  • Students shall 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, aerosol containers, straps or pins protruding from clothing, large bulky items, and laser lights, etc.
  • Telephone Use/Electronic Devices. Cell phone use is prohibited during the school day and also on the school buses. No mechanical or electronic device shall be used to audio or video record any activity on district provided transportation without the express permission of the driver and administrative staff at Transportation.
  • Musical instruments, which cannot be held or placed between legs on the floor; will not be allowed on the bus. Playing of musical instruments while on the bus is not allowed.
  • Books and personal belongings shall be kept out of aisles and off the back shelf of the bus.
  • Skateboards and all sports balls must be in a sports bag while on the bus.
  • Students shall not smoke, possess tobacco, alcohol, drugs, or other illegal substances or paraphernalia of any kind.
  • Flammable or flaming devices, pepper spray, bombs of any kind, knives, firearms, weapons or facsimiles are prohibited.
  • Students shall not eat, chew gum, or drink anything except water while on the bus. Exceptions to this rule must be pre-authorized by the transportation department.
  • Students shall not have animals on buses, except Service Animals.
  • Students shall stand away from the roadway curb when any bus is approaching or leaving a stop.
  • Students shall be at the bus stop five minutes before the scheduled bus time and wait in an orderly manner.
  • Students going to and from the bus stops where there are no sidewalks shall walk on the left-hand side of the roadway facing oncoming traffic, when applicable. Students shall go directly to their homes after leaving the bus.
  • Students shall not sit in the driver’s seat.
  • Students shall go directly to their seat and sit facing forward once inside the bus and remain seated at all times unless the driver instructs otherwise.
  • Students shall not open bus windows without the driver’s permission. Students shall not extend any part of their body out of the window at any time.
  • Students who have assigned seats shall use only that seat unless permission to change is authorized by the driver.
  • Students shall use lap belts on buses when available.
  • Students shall get on/off the bus in an orderly manner and shall obey the instructions of the driver or school staff on duty. There shall be no pushing and/or shoving when boarding or leaving the bus. Once off the bus, students shall adhere to rules for pedestrians.
  • Students shall cross in front of the bus when the driver signals it is safe to do so. They shall never cross behind the bus.
  • Student shall keep the bus clean by depositing all trash in the container at the front of the bus.
  • Students’ misconduct shall constitute sufficient reason for suspending transportation privileges.
  • Students shall follow emergency exit drill procedures as prescribed by the driver. They shall not tamper with emergency doors or equipment.
  • Students shall ride on assigned bus and leave the bus only at assigned stop. Bus passes are required to board or depart at a different authorized stop or another bus route.

Parents of students identified as causing damage to buses shall be charged with the cost of the incurred damage. Students causing the damage may be suspended from transportation.

**Students or parents must reimburse the school district for bus damage caused by the student’s misconduct.

DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES

The Director of Transportation/designee, in conjunction with the building principal, is responsible for correcting those students whose unacceptable behavior results in a bus incident report or violation of the above rules. The principal shall provide supervision during bus arrival and departure times at his/her school. The principal shall aid in enforcing that students comply with the specified regulations. Open lines of communication among school officials, bus drivers, and the transportation department must be maintained.

Citation Form

PENALTIES FOR INFRACTIONS OF ESTABLISHED BUS RULES:

Pupils’ misconduct on the bus or at a bus stop is sufficient reason to discontinue bus transportation privileges to those pupils involved.

Citations accumulate for the duration of one year. These are the consequences that may be expected.

1. First Citation:   Written warning or bus riding suspension. 
2. Second Citation:   Three (3) school days bus riding suspension. 
3. Third Citation:   Five (5) school day bus riding suspension. 
4. Fourth Citation:   Ten (10) school-day bus riding suspension. If the suspension occurs within the last ten (10) days of the school year the suspension may remain in effect for the start of the next school year. 
5. Fifth Citation:   Long-term bus riding suspension for the balance of the semester or school year. 
6. Serious Bus Rule Violation:   May result in immediate suspension of bus riding privileges for a minimum of five (5) school days suspension, or for the balance of the semester or school year. 
 
  • Suspension may begin at the end of the school day during which the misconduct occurred. In other words, the student transported to school will be returned to his regular stop.
  • If a student is suspended for misconduct on either a morning or afternoon bus the suspension will apply to ALL buses - including EDA (activity) buses. (Suspended bus students may ride a field trip bus with Principal/Transportation Supervisor permission and assigned seat on the field trip bus.)
  • Prior to a long-term suspension, Special Education students will have a team review the process.
  • At any citation level a conference may occur involving Principal, student, transportation, and parent.
  • Parents/guardians will be advised of dates of suspension by mail, telephone, or school administration.

APPEAL PROCEDURES

Students and/or parents/guardians of student who wish to appeal a suspension may submit a request to the Transportation Supervisor for an informal conference as set forth in WAC 392-400-240.

EMERGENCY EVACUATIONS

Every child who rides a school bus should know what to do should it ever become necessary to evacuate the bus quickly and safely. Usually students remain on the bus during an emergency; however, two situations do require the bus to be evacuated:

FIRE OR DANGER OF FIRE:

A bus should be stopped and evacuated immediately if the engine or any portion of the bus is on fire. Passengers should move a distance of 100 feet or more from the bus and remain there until the driver of the bus has determined that no danger remains. Being near an existing fire and unable to move the bus away, or near the presence of gasoline or other combustible materials should be considered as “Danger of fire,” and students should be evacuated.

UNSAFE POSITION:

In the event a bus is stopped due to accident, mechanical failure, or road conditions, it must be determined, immediately, whether it is safe for passengers to remain in the bus or to evacuate.

EMERGENCY EVACUATION DRILL

In compliance with WAC 392-145-080, an emergency evacuation drill will be completed within the first six weeks of each school semester for all students riding school buses except those excused by the regulation. Students excused from the drill will be orally instructed three times per year. Drills will be held at school bus loading zones only. Students riding field trip buses will receive verbal reviews of emergency procedures at the beginning of each field trip.

The Emergency Evacuation Drill will proceed as follows. The driver will:

  • Provide a short explanation of why it is necessary to conduct exit drills.
  • Shut off the motor, set the emergency brake, and place the bus in Park or Neutral depending on the bus type.
  • Instruct reliable students about use of the 2-way radio.
  • Put the microphone outside the window and turn key to accessory, if needed/possible.
  • Instruct students on getting emergency help.
  • Instruct students on setting highway warning reflector devices.
  • Instruct students on removing the first-aid kit.
  • Instruct students on use of the fire extinguisher and its location.
  • Instruct and assign students to open Exit door(s).
  • Explain which windows are “kick out” windows.
  • Assist students in leaving via the exit door(s).

Students should also be taught to remember that most accidents are preventable, regardless of who may be at fault, and that proper behavior and good conduct on the bus is the best way to assist the driver in the safe performance of his/her duties.

STUDENT BUS PASSES

Bus passes are required for students who wish to depart the bus at a different authorized stop or to ride a different bus to or from school. Passes for riding a bus other than a student’s regular bus are issued on a space available basis only. Therefore, there is no guarantee that a pass will be approved. Schools issue bus passes. The procedure to obtain a bus pass requires a parent note. The school’s office processes the request and issues either a Permanent or Temporary Bus Pass. No bus passes are issued the first two weeks of school or the last two weeks of school, except in emergencies.

PRESCHOOL/KINDERGARTEN

The standard Issaquah School District Transportation procedure is that Preschool/Kindergarten students being transported by bus have a responsible person to receive them at their bus stop. If the parents/guardians believe the child is capable of attending to his/her own needs and may be dropped off without a responsible person in attendance, the District then requires that information to be in writing from the parents/guardian via a form provided by Transportation. If there is no release and no parent at the bus stop – student is returned to school.

PARENTS RIDING BUSES

Only students and staff of the Issaquah School District are allowed to ride the school bus. However, parents of Issaquah District students may occasionally be given permission to ride the bus to/from school if they are assisting in a classroom. Permission must be pre-approved through Transportation management. The school will then issue a bus pass to the parent.

PARENT COMMUNICATION WITH THE BUS DRIVER

Due to safety reasons and time challenges, boarding a school bus to talk to the bus driver or a student is prohibited. It is best to contact the bus driver through the Transportation Department. This will ensure that the driver has adequate time to discuss your needs and concerns. Clarification of the rules and procedures should be directed to the Transportation Supervisor.

CAMERAS

The district and bus driver’s goal is to increase safety while transporting students to and from school. Cameras on the bus are a tool to help improve student conduct.

MECHANICALLY SAFE BUSES

Issaquah school buses are inspected by the Washington State Patrol twice per year. All district buses meet or exceed Federal and State specifications.

BUS DRIVER TRAINING PROGRAM

To ensure a safe bus ride for your students, each bus driver is an authorized Washington State School Bus Driver who has completed an extensive training program consisting of classroom and on the road training. Each driver has completed a drug screen, medical exam, and has under gone an extensive background check, including State and Federal fingerprinting clearance.

FACTS TO LEARN AND SHARE

  • The National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Department of Transportation and other authorities agree that school buses are the safest form of transportation for getting children to and from school.
  • Some 480,000 school buses carry 26 million children – more than half of America’s School children – each day, rarely with any serious accident.
  • Our District covers 110 square miles, 25 schools, over 21,000 students and we drive over 1.4 million miles a year.
  • Safety features including the color and size of the school buses, height, reinforced sides, cross view mirrors, flashing red lights, crossing arms and stop sign ensure children are protected and secure on and off the bus.
  • School bus drivers are highly trained professionals who have your child’s safety in mind. They receive specialized training in student behavior management, loading and unloading, security and emergency medical procedures.
  • Drivers participate in pre-employment and random drug/alcohol testing, as well as frequent driving record checks, and submit to background checks and periodic medical exams to keep their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) with a School Bus Endorsement.
  • The school bus industry operates by a set of safety, security, health and driver qualification guidelines that meet, and in some cases exceed, federal and state laws, and ensure that school buses are the safest mode of transportation for our nation’s schoolchildren.

School Bus Safety Tips

For Students

  • Be alert to traffic. Check both ways for cars before stepping off the bus.
  • Make eye contact with the bus driver and wait for the bus driver’s signal before crossing the street.
  • Walk in front of the bus; never walk behind the bus to cross the street.
  • While waiting for the bus, stay in a safe place away from the street.
  • Before leaving the sidewalk, look for the flashing red lights.
  • Never go near or under the bus to retrieve something you’ve dropped.

For Parents

  • Have your child ride the school bus to and from school instead of driving or riding with teenage drivers.
  • Review the safety tips with your child regularly.
  • Get to know the parents of other riders. You will learn about the other children who are riding along with your child.
  • Team up with other parents to get involved and monitor bus stops and bus routes. Voice concerns immediately to your school district.
  • Get to know your school’s transportation coordinator and your child’s bus driver. He or she is a trained professional who sees your child every day.
  • Keep phone numbers handy in case the bus is delayed or in the event of an emergency

Issaquah School District Non-Discrimination Statement

The Issaquah School District does not discriminate in any programs or activities on the basis of sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following is a link to HR to help with questions and complaints of alleged discrimination: http://www.issaquah.wednet.edu/human-resources