SURPRISE, Ariz. — Students heading back to local schools last week were met with an interesting change on their buses: the seating rows were sectioned off by colored tape.
To bolster the safety of bus passengers, Dysart Unified School District implemented a new seating policy that separates students by grade range. The plan works like this:
Kindergarten through third-grade students sit together in a zone at the front of the bus.
Fourth- through sixth-grade students sit in the middle zone.
Seventh- and eighth-grade students sit in the back zone.
Siblings can sit together in the zone of the youngest sibling.
“Dysart continues to refine the processes of its transportation department to provide the safest environment for students as they travel on the district’s buses,” the district said in an announcement about the seating zones.
The district also noted that bus drivers and other transportation department staff will monitor the program.
Local parent Jennifer Oltman told The Arizona Republic that she believes the new policy will enhance safety.
"There is a huge age and development difference between [kindergartners] and those in the eighth grade," she told the newspaper. "Younger children do not necessarily need to be exposed to the older students' conversations, behavior, attitudes, etc."