The School Bus Fleet poll shows 71% of respondents find middle school students most difficult, while more than 28% have more trouble with elementary school students.  -  Source: Canva

The School Bus Fleet poll shows 71% of respondents find middle school students most difficult, while more than 28% have more trouble with elementary school students.

Source: Canva

We asked School Bus Fleet readers which students tend to be more difficult to manage when it comes to behavior on a school bus. Overwhelmingly, the responses indicated that the most issues are found with middle school students.

About 71% of respondents found middle school students problematic, while 28.6% considered elementary school students most difficult to manage. No one seemed to have significant issues with high school students.

Middle school students, dealing with physical and social changes, seem to struggle more with behavior aboard the school bus.  -  Source: School Bus Fleet

Middle school students, dealing with physical and social changes, seem to struggle more with behavior aboard the school bus.

Source: School Bus Fleet

What Drives the Opinion About Most Poorly Behaved Students on School Bus?

What motivated their choice? Here are some comments from respondents:

  • “We are seeing an increase in behaviors from middle school-aged children. These behaviors are growing exponentially faster than elementary and high school combined in our district! I have conferences almost every week with the principals and parents.”
  • “The majority of the student conduct reports that I receive are from our middle school students.”
  • “The students (are) seemingly restless and rebellious at that age.”
  • “This is a difficult age for learners. Most are ‘changing’ in ways that cause them to act out and they are trying to assert some independence.”

How to Handle School Bus Behavior

Advice for bus drivers trying to manage difficult behavior on the school bus:

  • “Work with school staff.”
  • “Say something. Stick to it.”
  • “Listen to them, be compassionate and caring. We never know the full story in a student’s life.”
  • “Greet them every morning and afternoon, even if they say nothing. Be fair and consistent. Don’t try and be their friend. Use positive reinforcement. Catch them doing good and praise them. This is for all levels.”
  • “Get to know your students by their name and ask them about themselves. Try to engage with them and look for the positives instead of the negatives.”
  • Cameras let the principal handle it and document with a write-up.”
  • “No one solution works for all students. Be flexible and try many different solutions.”
  • “Build relationships. Get to know your students’ names and greet them daily! Find something positive to say about them. Be firm, consistent, and fair. Rules are rules; no negotiation. Try not to let yesterday’s issues influence today’s attitude. Let it go.”
About the author
Wes Platt

Wes Platt

Executive Editor

Wes Platt joined Bobit in 2021 as executive editor of School Bus Fleet Magazine. He writes and edits content about student transportation, school bus manufacturers and equipment, legislative issues, maintenance, fleet contracting, and school transportation technology - from classic yellow diesel buses to the latest EPA-funded electric, propane, and CNG vehicles.

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