School bus safety policy strongly enforced

Good order among students on the bus is fundamental to safety.
Safe student transportation is one of Department of Defense Dependent Schools Europe’s highest concerns. There are high standards for mechanically-sound vehicles and qualified, trained drivers, two of the three parts that make up the formula for safe school bus operations. The third and equally vital part completing the formula is safe student behavior on the bus.
The most serious effect of student misbehavior is its impact on the bus driver. Driving in European traffic conditions demands the driver’s full attention and absolute concentration. Anything diverting attention or breaking concentration, however momentary, can have dangerous, even fatal, consequences.
Consider this, when the driver looks in the rearview mirror to identify and correct student misbehavior, who is driving the bus?
“Children need guidance from parents about school bus behavior expectations, consistently and continuously throughout the year,” said Mike St. Clair, DODDS Europe Transportation Division. “That’s because good order among students on the bus is fundamental to safety.”
The direct cause and effect relationship between behavior and safety on the bus underlies the policy and program for managing student behavior.
The following are important points from the current policy:
• The rules will be strictly enforced, because misbehavior by even one student creates an unsafe environment for all.
• Parents, including sponsors or guardians are responsible for their children’s behavior on the bus. Parents must teach their children proper behavior and ensure they follow the rules.
• School principals will take disciplinary action. Riding school buses is a privilege that may be suspended or revoked when a student does not behave in a safe and proper manner.
• Suspension or revocation of bus privileges does not relieve the student of attending school. Parents must make the necessary arrangements.
• The four categories of infractions are Minor Misconduct (i.e. standing while the bus is in motion); Serious Infractions (i.e. damage, theft or pilfering); Severe Offenses (i.e. fighting) and Criminal or Illegal Acts (i.e. making a bomb threat).
• Penalties range from written warning for the first instance in the minor misconduct category to suspension or recommendation for further punishment by military installation commanders.
Enforcement of the policy requires everyone’s backing, cooperation and support, including parents, sponsors and guardians, commanders and other military community officials. There are also several important actions parents can take to do their job, said Mr. St. Clair, who recommended proactive reminders about the 10 rules. One way to do that, he said, is to pick one rule for each day’s reminder. “Don’t assume your children know the rules,” he said, “make certain that they do.”
(Courtesy Department of Defense Dependent Schools Europe Transportation Office)

The 10 School Bus Rules:

– Obey the driver or adult
– Enter and exit the bus safely and always show your bus pass
– Stay properly seated and use seatbelts when available
– Keep your hands, feet and other body parts to yourself
– Do not throw things
– Do not throw anything out of the window
– Remain quiet and do not disturb the driver or others
– No profanity, indecency, smoking, prohibited items, or vandalism is allowed
– Do not eat, drink or chew gum
– Be responsible and be safe