It is important to be on time at the bus stop. Students and parents should never run after a bus, bang on the side of a bus or cut in front of a bus. These are extremely dangerous actions that could lead to injuries and, in other localities, have resulted in deaths. It is better to miss the bus than risk injury. Although bus drivers are trained to look in all directions for people and for cars, there are blind spots and danger zones.
Parents are encouraged to accompany young children to the bus stop. Bus stops are placed so that no elementary child has to walk more than approximately 0.3 of a mile and no middle or high school student has to walk more than approximately 0.5 of a mile.
Parents are responsible for the safety of their children to and from bus stops and are particularly encouraged to accompany young children.
Bus routes may be designed where students have to cross a roadway to get to or from the bus. School bus drivers are trained and school buses are equipped with traffic warning devices to enhance a safe crossing.
Safety is a team effort and a responsibility shared by the parent, student, bus driver and motorist. Go to the free downloads section of www.ptsi.org for information on how to cross safely and protecting children from passing motorists. These publications can help you teach your child about crossing the roadway safely.
If students cannot hold their belongings in their laps or fit them under the seat, then the belongings should be left at home or taken to school by another means. Items cannot take up a seat, be placed in the aisle or be put in front of any emergency exit.
Buses that transport younger, smaller students may require these students to sit three or more per seat. While the transportation department strives to route buses so that this does not happen, it’s not always possible. The same practice applies to middle or high school students. When possible, the routes are established so that these students may sit two to a seat. Often, this may not be possible, either. Each concern regarding overcrowding is evaluated on a case-by-case basis as quickly as possible. The transportation department never wants to have students riding in an overcrowded bus or standing; however, state regulations allow students to stand under certain conditions, which gives a school division time to assess each situation.
Approvals are granted by the school, based on the current number of students on buses. Check with your school to learn how it handles individual cases.
Traffic conditions are the primary factor the school division’s transportation department uses when establishing or evaluating routes and stops. Parents are responsible for the safety of students going to and from school bus stops and while waiting for the bus. This is another reason it is important for an adult to accompany students to the bus stop.
Drivers take their buses home because it is cost-efficient to do so. Chesterfield County Public Schools wants to be a good neighbor, and bus drivers are encouraged to choose appropriate parking spots for their buses. But the school division’s transportation department cannot determine the legality of a parked school bus. Only the police can do this.
Bus stops are established for neighborhoods rather than for individual households, so that no elementary child has to walk more than about 0.3 of a mile and no middle or high school student has to walk more than about 0.5 of a mile. Families may move several times during a child’s scholastic career, but the locations of bus stops are considered permanent unless they need to be changed to ensure that walking distances stay within the guidelines.
The issue of seat belts on buses has been debated for more than 30 years. Please go to www.nhtsa.gov and enter “school bus” in the “search NHTSA” block to learn more.