We know that you want to protect your children at all costs. When it comes to riding the school bus, you can never be too careful. That's why it's super important that you educate your students about school bus safety. Make sure you cover the following areas:
Bus stop etiquette
Safety begins before they even enter the school bus. A student should never run, even if he/she is running late. Kids should line up by the bus stop and wait until the driver motions for them to enter. They can then proceed confidently, knowing that the bus driver has ensured that traffic has indeed stopped.
Bus riding etiquette
Once on the bus, students need to find a seat and sit in it. After they are seated, students are encouraged to buckle seatbelts (if applicable). From that point forward, children are encouraged to essentially be model citizens. Not really, but there are some basic riding rules:
No throwing things...even if it’s a ball and otherwise meant to be thrown.
No yelling. Normal speaking voices will do.
No bullying, hitting or other physical violence. Keep your hands to yourself.
No distracting the bus driver.
No stealing. (“Thou shalt not...”)
No sticking your head or hands (or any other body part) out the window.
Keep the aisles clear. Books/bags can be tripping hazards.
Exiting the bus
Once the driver has reached the child’s final destination, make sure students know that the bus needs to come to a full and complete stop before exiting. Failure to do so could result in them resembling a bowling ball going down the bus aisle way, which would obviously be discouraged. It is likewise discouraged to hit other kids in the head with your backpack as you walk by.
Students should be encouraged to use the handrail while walking down the stairs to exit. (It is there for a reason!) They should also make sure that straps, drawstrings, and clothing don’t get caught in the handrails or the door.
Should homework or a paper fly out from a backpack, students should be aware that they should never chase it under the bus. We know that homework is important, but the student’s life is MORE important. He/She can ask the school bus driver to get it, or they can wait until the bus goes on its way (but only retrieving the paper if it’s not in a street with traffic).
If kids have to cross the street after getting off the bus, they should always do so in front of the bus, never behind. That way, the bus driver can keep his/her eyes on them. Students should also walk at least 10 feet in front of the bus to ensure that the driver can always see them. If the road is clear, students should cross quickly. If not, they should return to the curb and defer to the bus driver's prerogative as to when to cross.
There are certain areas around the bus that are considered “Danger Zones.” They are included because either 1) there is danger from passing cars or 2) there is danger when the bus driver’s sight is impaired. Make sure students are aware of these zones and are encouraged to NOT be in them for extended periods of time - or at all, if possible.
By educating your students on bus stop safety, as well as the proper way to ride and exit the bus, in addition to the danger zones, you are well on your way to increasing school bus safety. By educating students on these important areas, you are not only making life easier on school bus drivers, but you could also be saving the lives of students...which is totally worthwhile.