School Bus Driver

School Bus Driver

The Bus Driver

12 Years Experience

Southeast, GA

Female, 35

I have been a bus driver since October 2006. I know the inside story, the scoop, the down low dirt of what it takes to be a bus driver, how to handle kids and adults, and how to survive on the "streets" so to speak. I have a blog, feel free to browse it or ask me a question here.

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Last Answer on March 15, 2018

Best Rated

I assume you've seen this video of the bullied school bus monitor, but just in case: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E12R9fMMtos. Any thoughts on this? How does something like that happen?

Asked by Marissa almost 6 years ago

This was a very hard video to watch, and in fact, I could not watch it all the way through. I address this issue on my blog. However to answer your question - Kids are mean. They do not think before they speak and often will torment others just because they can. I've been bullied by the kids before because of my size, and I don't let it bother me, and turn in those that are bullying. Unfortunately the consequences for the students who bully are not severe enough to STOP the bullying. Too many excuses for poor behavior.

What do you do if you suspect a kid is being abused at home?

Asked by Cheri almost 6 years ago

Yes there is. Every bus driver, teacher, principal, and other employee in the school system is a Mandated Reporter. That means if we suspect or witness child abuse, we HAVE to report it by law. Each state is different in how to report child abuse, but where I work, if we suspect a child is being abused at home, we notify the supervisor at the bus shop and the school the child attends. It then sets into motion numerous meetings between the principal, counselors, and teachers involved and often will get the child out of the abuse situation. We take abuse cases very seriously and it is sometimes very hard to prove that there is any abuse going on because many people will not abuse the child in front of us. We document everything we notice such as signs of physical abuse or neglect, and various behavior patterns. Often, if a parent is habitually not home when we drop off a young child, we will report it and take the child over to the police station because the child is lacking in supervision at home.

Do bus drivers (or whoever is the head of the bus driving department) have any say in a school district's decision to close schools due to inclement weather?

Asked by Heya almost 6 years ago

That's a good question - I'm not really sure how it works in other states and each individual school district has their own policies on what is considered inclement weather, but our district rarely closes for inclement weather. The one time we did, since I've been there, I think it was a combination of the transportation department and the school board deciding what was safest for the students. We had experienced some torrential rain which washed out a lot of our roads and caused some very unsafe conditions for students, so the school was closed because of the road conditions caused by the rain.

This is a really interesting thread, learned a ton already by reading it. My question: do you lock and unlock the emergency door from the driver's seat, or could a kid sitting in the back just open it at any time?

Asked by Hank about 5 years ago

The emergency doors in the back of the bus (or on the side of the bus in some models) are simply opened by a red lever in the back of the bus. Any child can do it in the case of an emergency. The door is not locked. The door can be locked, however when securing your bus for the evening after you have completed your route. The newer models of buses have a simple slide latch and the latch communicates with the ignition system of the bus. If the latch is locked, the bus will not start. It ensures that the door always stays unlocked so that students can get out in the case of an emergency.

How do you deal with a bus monitor that seems to be a back seat driver?
It will slowly and then eventually swiftly build until I'm slamming my brakes on in the center of an intersection! How can a driver professionally stop the distraction?

Asked by reason over 5 years ago

That’s a tough question to answer. Ideally if you have a monitor on the bus, the monitor should not be a distraction and you should be able to work side by side with the monitor. Have you tried speaking with the monitor directly? Maybe she/he doesn’t know that what they are doing is bothering you. If you feel you cannot speak to the person directly, ask your boss for a mediation session where he/she can have the both of you in the office and you two can hash out your differences. It may be that the boss may decide to move the monitor to a different bus, and give you a new monitor for yours. Personally, I prefer to drive a bus by myself because its easier to handle all behavior problems because I can be consistent in my discipline methods. If I write a student up for behavior and my monitor doesn’t for the same behavior, it sends mixed messages to the student on how to behave. I hope you find a resolution soon!

What, if anything, do you think is missing from the modern-day school bus? Seat belts? Power windows? Extra supervision?

Asked by simba07 over 5 years ago

Well, things like power windows are not practical because the kids would be forever playing with them, and we don't need any more buttons to deal with. A lot of the newer buses are equipped with power mirrors, mirror defoggers/defrosters, air ride seats, and air conditioning. One thing that I would like to see is better running/back up lights on the exterior of the bus for when we have to do turn around's in the dark. Another thing that I would like to see in addition to the air ride seats, is more cushioning/comfort in the drivers seats since we are often on the road for very long hours. In an ideal world, every bus would have an aide on it to monitor and help defuse behavior problems as well, but funding is just not available.

I have a boss that thinks I should not need to stop for 5 min to use the restroom after 2 hrs of driving. This is after I have delivered students at 2 different schools, driven about 35 mi, and before I pick up more students and drive another
15 mi

Asked by avatar over 5 years ago

I think you ought to be allowed to use the bathroom should you need it, however if you are leaving students unattended on your bus, I can see your boss' problem with you using the bathroom. If it is simply a matter of you pulling the bus over in a public area at a gas station, your boss may be wanting to avoid phone calls from the "concerned public" of buses parking in places where they shouldn't. After all, the county public pays your salary right? (That was a bit of sarcasm.) One thing your boss may be concerned about is you getting students to school on time. If you only need 5 minutes to use the restroom, simply back your route up by 5 minutes so that you budget that "bathroom time" into your route.