Bus Rules and Safety
The following rules have been developed for safety reasons:
- Students must show their bus passes to the bus driver upon boarding the bus.
- Students must obey the bus driver at all times.
- All riders riding a school bus equipped with lap-shoulder seat belts are expected to use the lap-shoulder seat belts appropriately.
- Noise on the bus is to be kept at a reasonable level. No shouting or other loud noises on the bus or out the windows is allowed.
- Students must remain seated at all times. Aisles are to remain clear of feet and other items.
- The bus must be kept clean at all times.
- Eating and drinking are not allowed on the bus.
- Students waiting to board a bus should stand a safe distance from the curb until the bus comes to a complete stop and the doors are opened. Pushing or shoving while waiting to board the bus is not permitted.
- In case of an emergency, all riders are to remain seated in the bus unless otherwise instructed by the driver/other adult in authority.
- Students must ride only their assigned bus. Students will not be allowed to ride an alternate bus.
- If a student disobeys the rules, he or she will be issued a Bus Conduct Report.
Infractions of the rules result in the following actions:
- First Offense: Bus Conduct Report is sent home for parent’s/guardian’s signature
- Second Offense: Phone call to student’s parents/guardians and suspension of transportation privileges for one day
- Third Offense: Suspension of transportation privileges for three days
- Fourth Offense: Suspension of transportation privileges for five days
- Fifth Offense: Suspension of transportation privileges for 30 days
- Sixth Offense: Suspension of transportation privileges for remainder of the school year
Please Note: Discipline may carry over to the next year.
In cases where more serious disciplinary problems occur, the following procedures are followed:
- The driver reports the incident immediately to the transportation supervisor and fills out a discipline report.
- The Transportation supervisor immediately reports the incident to the building principal.
- The principal meets with the student, and a member of the Transportation Department contacts the student’s parents/guardians with the intended plan.
For the following severe bus conduct infractions, transportation service may be immediately suspended for a minimum of five days. Transportation privileges could be suspended for the entire semester or school year depending on the severity of the incident and the student’s number of previous discipline infractions. The transportation supervisor and the student’s principal determine the extent of the corrective action.
These incidents include:
- Fighting or threatening others on the bus
- Using profanity or obscene gestures toward the bus driver or others on the bus
- Throwing or shooting items in the bus or out the windows
- Igniting fires, smoking, or using a controlled substance on the bus
- Severe safety distractions such as pointing laser lights at the bus driver or other students on the bus
- Putting hands, arms, and other parts of the body outside the windows
- Any activity on the bus that could severely jeopardize the safety of the students on the bus
- Harassing behavior
In cases where severe conduct infractions occur, the Transportation Department may send a representative to the bus to remove the child or children involved. Students who feel they are being treated unfairly in a transportation matter should report the matter to the principal.
Video systems are used to monitor student behavior on school buses. The video can be used as evidence in a student disciplinary proceeding. The tapes are considered student records, subject to school district confidentiality, board policy, and administrative regulations.
West Des Moines Community Schools has begun the process of adding lap-shoulder seat belts on school buses prior to the 2019-20 school year. Along with the implementation is the expectation that all students on a WDMCS school bus that is equipped with lap-shoulder seat belts will use them. Any student not in compliance with all school bus rules and guidelines will be handled in accordance with the usual student disciplinary process.
School bus safety is a shared responsibility among parents, students, and the bus driver. Please review and reinforce these bus safety guidelines with your children regularly. When we all remember and follow these rules, riding the school bus can be a fun, safe, and pleasant experience.
Safety Tips for Students
- Avoid loose-fitting clothes and clothes with long strings. This type of clothing is more likely to get caught on the door while entering or exiting the bus.
- Pack all school items in your backpack or bookbag so you won’t drop them when you get on or off the bus.
- Leave home early so you can arrive at the stop five minutes before your assigned stop time.
- Never run to catch the bus. If you miss the bus, go home or to a neighbor’s house.
- Walk on the sidewalk if possible. If not, walk single file and stay close to the edge of the road.
- If you must cross a street, stop and look left, right, and left again before crossing the street.
- When possible, parents should go to the bus stop with young children. Older children should walk in groups.
Waiting for the Bus
- Stay away from the DANGER ZONES AROUND THE BUS.
- Stand at least six feet (three giant steps) away from the road while waiting for the bus.
- Do not play in the street while waiting for the bus.
- Do not push, shove, or play running games at the bus stop.
Boarding the Bus
- If you cross the street, wait for the bus to come to a complete stop. Wait for the bus driver to signal you. Check for traffic before stepping out. Cross at least 10 feet (five giant steps) in front of the bus.
- NEVER walk between parked cars when entering the street.
- Enter the bus in single file and use the handrail.
- If you drop something, LEAVE IT! Tell the bus driver and wait for instructions. Never enter the danger zone to retrieve a dropped object.
- Students are required to show the bus driver their bus passes each time they board the bus.
- Go right to your seat and sit quietly.
Riding the Bus
- Obey the bus driver at all times.
- Remain seated while the bus is in motion.
- Keep your feet out of the aisles and off the seats.
- Keep your head, hands, and belongings inside the bus at all times.
- Talk quietly and avoid loud noises that could distract the driver.
- Do not talk when the bus is approaching or crossing railroad tracks.
- Be considerate of others, and use appropriate language and behavior.
- Help keep the bus clean. Do not chew gum, eat, or drink on the bus.
- Do not smoke or light matches on the bus.
- Report any damage or concerns to the bus driver.
Getting Off the Bus
- All riders will be discharged only at their assigned stops.
- Go directly home.
- Allow anyone who needs to cross in front of the bus to get off first. This is called a “cross over.” These students are at the greatest risk and need the driver’s full attention.
- When unloading, take three giant steps away from the bus. If you can touch the bus, you are too close.
- If you must cross in front of the bus, walk 10 feet forward, stop, and wait for the driver to signal you to cross.
- Cross to the driver’s edge of the bus and stop.
- Before stepping out from the protection of the bus, look both ways for oncoming traffic.
- If the street is clear and all the vehicles are stopped, cross quickly.
- WARNING SIGNAL—two short horn blasts from the bus means danger! Return to the curbside of the bus and away from the traffic.
- Always cross in FRONT of the bus.
- Cross in a group. Do not scatter. This helps the bus driver keep track of all the riders.
- Never return to the danger zone around the bus once you have safely crossed.
It is the family's responsibility to make sure their children get to the stop and follow bus rules while they are waiting for the bus.
- Emphasize that the bus should be considered an extension of the classroom. Riding the bus is a privilege that can be taken away if students do not obey the rules.
- The rules have been established to increase the safety of all students riding the bus. When the driver’s attention is distracted from the road, this increases the chances of an accident.
- Teach your children about school bus safety. Ask questions to determine their comprehension. Young children learn through repetition.
- If you meet your children at the bus stop, wait on the side where the child is discharged. Children eager to greet their parents may disregard their safety training. (Students are trained on the crossover and evacuation techniques twice each year.)
- Recognize the bus drivers for performing their jobs safely.
- Notify the Transportation Department when your child will not be riding the bus.
The Law States: Do not pass any school bus from the rear when the bus has its amber lights flashing. Flashing amber lights are a warning that the bus is preparing to stop. Reduce Your Speed, and be prepared to stop when approaching a school bus with flashing amber lights on a two-way street. Stop from both directions for school buses displaying flashing red lights and an extended stop arm.
Heavy fines are assessed for stop violations. These fines were increased in 2012 with the passage of a bill known as "Kadyn's Law" in memory of Kadyn Halverson, a 7-year-old first-grader from Kensett who was killed by a driver who illegally passed a stopped school bus.
The new provisions increase the penalties for drivers who fail to abide by the law on stopped school buses (Iowa Code 321.372). Previously, a motorist who passed a bus when the red warning lights were flashing was fined $200. The new Iowa law increased the penalty to at least $250 and as high as $675 for a first offense and up to 30 days in jail. For subsequent violations, a driver could face fines of up to $1,875. A driver who violates the law and causes an injury could face added fines, jail time, and license suspension. Read more on Iowa School Bus Safety.
Things To Remember:
- Please drive cautiously during morning, noon, and afternoon hours.
- Do not try to “beat the bus.”
- Report school bus drivers who are driving in an unsafe manner.