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 Another Mom needs advice.....
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Just a Mom
New Member

2 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2001 :  8:27:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Just a Mom who would love to get the drivers opinions on busing Elementary kids with High School Vo-Tech kids without letting the parents know about it. Do you think this is a good idea? My kid's school is totally seperate from the High School, so there would be no reason for parents to think the High School kids might be on the bus. My neighbor's son (first grader)was being harrassed by a "Big Kid" for a year before I accidentally discovered that the big kid wasn't a 4th grader. I only noticed these kids getting on our bus route because they were breaking bushes around the school one day. I don't want to demonize the Vo-Tech kids, I just don't feel that the conversations they're having and the language that they use would be a good influence on kids K-4. I asked my school board to at least let the parents know about it, but so far nothings happening....what's your opinion? By the way, in all my conversations about this with people from the school, the most helpful person was the head of the Transportation Department and the Bus Drivers themselves. I really think you all must be incredible people -- I can't even handle driving my friends kids in my minivan!!!!! Thanks in advance for any advice or opinion you give me.....

Silas J.
Top Member

USA
938 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2001 :  8:46:41 PM  Show Profile  Send Silas J. an AOL message  Send Silas J. an ICQ Message  Click to see Silas J.'s MSN Messenger address  Send Silas J. a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Welcome to SBF Forums!!!!!!Quite a few of us on here aren't drivers.On my bus,which is a 42 pax(Seven rows of windows) we have all grades.The little kids stay up front,middle school in the middle,and high school in the back.Although this isn't a rule,most everyone follows it.My district doesn't tell people either.little kids really don't need to be sitting with 9-12 anyway,so I suggest calling the bus driver,the transportation manager,and the director of schools.
Silas J.

97-12 It will outrun your bus.
"As long as there's a method to your madness,it's fine"
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MdntDrmr
Active Member

USA
48 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2001 :  9:55:31 PM  Show Profile  Send MdntDrmr an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Dear Mom:

First, go to your State Web Page and look up the State Director of Education. In our case it is our State Super. Give them a call and ask them how they feel about this. Let them know that it is causing problems with your little one and they are coming home saying they have been picked on, heard things, etc...

Write a letter to the Local School System Director and send it certified or hand deliver it explaining your problems and if you want, get you Board members names and addresses, they have to release these to you.

Write each of them a letter and let them know it is happening. Sometimes they are clueless as to what is happening in their own district.

Give that a try and let us know if we can help anymore.

I am in GA. and the two districts I have driven for do not allow Elementary on with Middle or High. Not sure if that is the standard or just our districts.

Hope this helps!

BLUE BIRD and HENRY COUNTY GEORGIA ROCK!
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Thomas Ford 85-16
Top Member

USA
4170 Posts

Posted - 01/01/2002 :  07:24:57 AM  Show Profile  Visit Thomas Ford 85-16's Homepage  Send Thomas Ford 85-16 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
I'm not a bus driver, but I don't think that high schoolers should be riding with Elementary children. I think Middle school and High school mixed are fine, but not High school and Elementary.

Stop at: www.buses.cjb.net
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MamaLoca
Advanced Member

USA
400 Posts

Posted - 01/01/2002 :  08:12:17 AM  Show Profile  Visit MamaLoca's Homepage  Send MamaLoca an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Dear Mom,

Welcome to the forum. I hope you get enough information to help with your problem.

quote:
... there may not be enough buses and drivers to make it a separate run...


This is a problem nationwide and most likely the case with your transportation Department. It also may be a budget decision.

Tell your neighbor (and anyone with kids on buses) they should introduce themselves to the driver if at all possible. Send a note with the child if they can not meet the bus at the bus stop. Without the ability to communicate reasonably with the driver you only have the information provided by the child. It's much better to do so before a problem arises. Some drivers can become defensive if they feel you are critisizing thier ability to drive and supervise thier students. Bus driving can be a thankless job the lack of good pay, support from administration and respect only adds to the stress of driving a 9 ton, 35 foot vehicle through traffic, while being responsible for in most cases 60 children of varying grades and temperaments

It could be that the child has not even told the driver. This has happened many times to me. The parent has asked about a situation and assumed I had prior knowledge of it. With my eyes on the road and the highbacked seats many things can go unnoticed. The driver doesn't know what they don't see or aren't told.

I agree that in most cases Elementary students should not be transported with Highschool Students. Although we do have such situations in our district for a before school program for our 4th and 5th graders. The parents are aware that thier children will be on buses with older students.

I hope you can resolve the issue. All students should be provided a safe and unharassed ride to and from school.

Smile, it makes people wonder what you're up to.
http://www.canandaiguaschools.org/bus/
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BlueBird44
Top Member

USA
1639 Posts

Posted - 01/01/2002 :  08:19:14 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Welcome Justamom. I am not a bus driver eithier but I do not think it is right for them to be mixed togehter. Soemtimes there are situations that it has to be that way. A thing that could help are assigned seats. Most of my drivers did it K in the first so many seat.then 1 then 2 and so forth so that older people would be near the older people and no one would get picked on because there not a big age different. If there are not assinged seats that bus should go to it. Is the bus driver aware that a kid was picked on?? If not they should be informed. Have a nice day.

BlueBird44-"44 Best Bus EVER!"
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Stevebus42
Advanced Member

USA
363 Posts

Posted - 01/01/2002 :  2:03:18 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Wewlcome Just a Mom. I am a bus driver and Mixed buses should not be, but unfortionately it happens. When it does the Mix should be Middle school High School Under no circumstances should the mix be elementary/high school. Direct your complaint to the transportation department and then follow the chain of command up to the superintendent. If this fails then I suggest taking your case to the school board. School boards vary greatly in procedure. However, most have a block of time reserved for public comment. Check in the superintendents office for the rules and follow then to the nth degree.

Generally speaking the time in the public comment section is broken up in 4 or 5 minute blocks. I would suggest that you write out your comments and practice on your friends and neighbors also find other parents that share your concerns. If the school board fails to produce results enlist the aid of the reporter on the local paper that covers educational issues. Above all else keep your cool when addressing the issues

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BlueBird07
New Member

USA
9 Posts

Posted - 01/02/2002 :  12:05:33 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My district started mixing elementary with high school students just this year, and on this one bus, there was a big problem with high schoolers sexually assaulting elementary kids, (this went on for many days before it was reported by a kid(the driver never knew this was happening) and at this point, i think the district is now getting sued(by parents) for what happened to the younger kids, after a police investigation

This is a big problem mixing the kids.

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buswench
Active Member

USA
38 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2002 :  12:32:13 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We have mixed high schoolers and grade schoolers for years in certain programs and it has worked wonderfully. We're in the metro Chicago area and it is not at all about being way out in the country. They don't sit together, and the high schoolers know that they are to set the example for the younger students. These are their neighbors, and on a day like 911, they might turn out to be the one this older kid needs. There is nothing wrong with instilling and reinforcing a sense of community within the younger crowd, you just have to remind them that the high schoolers have a bigger job in this picture. So far, 10 years and no problems either.

San
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kd4jfd
Top Member

USA
1155 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2002 :  07:00:02 AM  Show Profile  Click to see kd4jfd's MSN Messenger address  Send kd4jfd a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
In my district, H-12 all ride the same bus. I drive about 35 miles one way. It is just not sensible or cost effective to make more than one run. Most of the high school kids start driving when they get thier licence, so there are not that many on the bus anyway.
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mr.dave
Advanced Member

USA
414 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2002 :  09:10:31 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Amen; the problem is not the age or size differance. It's nonacceptable student behavior. The bully is going to mess with weaker children whether grades are mixed or not. If the driver runs his bus well he will disuade such activities. -shalom dave

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cowlitzcoach
Advanced Member

USA
325 Posts

Posted - 01/05/2002 :  6:31:04 PM  Show Profile  Visit cowlitzcoach's Homepage  Reply with Quote
In almost every district around here K-12 are mixed together on one route at one time or another. Most all of the small districts run only one bus run every morning and afternoon so segregating by age is not possible.

Are there problems? Of course there are. What the bottom line is what sort of student behavior is allowed. In no bus that I have ever driven has the sort of behavior you describe ever been tolerated. But as it has been pointed out, sometimes that sort of stuff can be going on for quite a while unbeknowest to the driver.

The first thing you need to do is communicate your concerns directly to the driver or the driver's supervisor. It may precipitate a change in bus routes but most likely a change in student behavior.

No child, regardless of the age, should be subjected to behavior or language that is objectionable.

Good luck and keep us informed as to what you do and how the problem finally resolves itself. It may help someone else.

Mark O.

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BlueBird07
New Member

USA
9 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2002 :  10:25:59 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The district/parents hasn't mentioned anything yet, but i guess they have to wait til school is in scession before anyone will do anything reguardless of what has happened. this happened back in november, so the district still hasn't been talking much of what is being done to anyone, or what changes will b made


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BlueBird07
New Member

USA
9 Posts

Posted - 01/11/2002 :  12:43:19 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The district offered to put 3 floating monitors on all the buses. But, that doesnt please everyone, they want monitors on every bus...if the parents arent happy, then they will go on with the lawsuits......meanwhile 2of the 3 kids charged have plaead guilty in connection with the incident, and for some reason charges against the 3rd kid may be dropped...

this may darg on forever

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Just a Mom
New Member

2 Posts

Posted - 01/11/2002 :  7:13:14 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you to everyone who has responded to my question...I appreciate all of your input. Our bus continues to have K-4 and HS Vo Tech students (no middle school students) right now the school board has asked the drivers to report any interaction, both positive and negative between the two groups. The parents argue that there's no way for the drivers to be able to hear all that goes on in the back of the bus when there's so many kids on the bus, and the noise of the engine... The kindergarteners sit up front so the drivers can see them, so the 4th graders end up towards the back with the Vo-Tech kids. My biggest concern is that the school doesn't let the parents know that this is going on. I think the parents would ask their kids more about their bus ride and be quicker to report unacceptable behaviour if they actually knew that it was coming from High school kids. There seems to be a big difference in the threat of bodily harm when if comes from someone three times bigger than you than when it comes from someone in your own age (& size) group. Do you agree?

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JK
Top Member

USA
7307 Posts

Posted - 01/14/2002 :  1:01:46 PM  Show Profile  Visit JK's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:

"Thank you to everyone who has responded to my question...I appreciate all of your input. Our bus continues to have K-4 and HS Vo Tech students (no middle school students) right now the school board has asked the drivers to report any interaction, both positive and negative between the two groups. The parents argue that there's no way for the drivers to be able to hear all that goes on in the back of the bus when there's so many kids on the bus, and the noise of the engine... The kindergarteners sit up front so the drivers can see them, so the 4th graders end up towards the back with the Vo-Tech kids. My biggest concern is that the school doesn't let the parents know that this is going on. I think the parents would ask their kids more about their bus ride and be quicker to report unacceptable behaviour if they actually knew that it was coming from High school kids. There seems to be a big difference in the threat of bodily harm when if comes from someone three times bigger than you than when it comes from someone in your own age (& size) group. Do you agree?"



I would think that a threat toward a bus driver from a HS kid can be scary -- to a little kid it must be terrifying.

How well k-12 works on a school bus directly depends on bus driver violence prevention training or knowledge and how effective the support from school staff and parents. You mentioned that the school district didn't bother to mention to parents the plan to mix k-12 on the buses -- not informing the parents can be considered a step in the wrong direction. Off on the wrong foot can end up down the road still on the wrong foot. I would be concerned -- check out what specific violence prevention training your bus driver was provided. Is the driver an experienced career driver -or- a newbe with little v.p. training to keep that bus safe.

k-12 on the bus can be an excellent experience, when everybody is doing what they are supposed to be doing, including keeping parents informed. Some transportation providers seem more concerned about saving a buck than keeping kids safe. In most situations parents are the key and should act in defense of childrens safety and in helping the bus driver keep kids safe.(jk)

Free school bus safety photos for websites, newsletters and the press:

http://www.geocities.com/2safeschools/library/photos.htm



Edited by - jk on 01/14/2002 1:05:43 PM
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