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Teacher Interventions-To-Go Series
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School-Wide Strategies for Managing...
BUS CONDUCT

Traveling by school bus is one of the safest methods of transportation. In fact, according to the School Bus Information Council, children have a much lower risk of serious injury when riding the school bus than when traveling via passenger car, train, or airline. Bus drivers deserve a great deal of credit for maintaining such a strong safety record, especially when one considers the extreme challenges of supervising a school bus full of young riders. The driver must focus attention on the highly complex task of maneuvering the bus down a busy roadway at high speeds while at the same time monitoring and managing the behaviors of an often-unruly bunch of 40 or more students who are visible only through a rear-view mirror! There are two important principles to keep in mind when setting up behavioral interventions for buses. First, the bus should be considered an extension of the school environment. That is, the bus driver should be regarded as having the same authority as a teacher or other school staff member. And behavior on the bus should earn the student the same incentives or disciplinary consequences that such conduct would bring if displayed in a school setting. Second, bus interventions should emphasize the establishment of positive relationships between driver and riders and focus on teaching appropriate student behaviors instead of relying too heavily on the use of punishment. Drivers who know the names of their riders, greet all children as they enter the bus, and build a strong bond with their daily passengers will see reduced behavior problems and discover that even those challenging behaviors that occasionally do emerge can usually be dealt with quickly and easily. The remainder of this article draws from effective behavior-management principles for ideas on handling students’ bus behavior.

Jim's Recommended Internet Resources for...
BUS CONDUCT

From Down Under: Bus Safety Resources. The New Zealand Ministry of Education has posted excellent resources to promote safety on the bus, including a sample student ‘code of conduct’ and a two-page behavior reference guide for bus drivers. ||Report Broken Link

Riding the School Bus European-Style. The US Department of Defense Dependents Schools/Europe hosts a resource page that contains a model school bus behavior management policy and a student handout on appropriate bus behaviors (‘An unruly bus is an unsafe bus!’) ||Report Broken Link

School Bus Safety Tips from CarsDirect. This webpage provides advice to students for safely getting on and off the bus, crossing the street, and riding the bus. ||Report Broken Link

References

Bear, G. G. (1990). Best practices in school discipline. In A. Thomas & J. Grimes (Eds.), Best practices in school psychology-II. (pp. 649-663). Washington, DC: National Association of School Psychologists.

Carnes, A. W. (1996). School bus safety: A peer helper program with a career development focus. Elementary School Guidance and Counseling, 30, 213-217.

Gaustad, J. (1992). School discipline. ERIC Digest, Number 78. Eugene, OR: ERIC Clearinghouse on Educational Management. (ERIC Identifier: ED350727). Retrieved September 23, 2005, from http://www.ericdigests.org/1992-1/school.htm

Gettinger, M. (1988). Methods of proactive classroom management. School Psychology Review, 17, 227-242.

Hopkins, G. (2003, March 7). School bus discipline: Solving the problem. Education World. Retrieved October 11, 2005, from http://www.education-world.com/a_admin/admin024.shtml

Kazdin, A.E., (2001). Behavior Modification in Applied Settings. (6th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing.

Martens, B.K. & Kelly, S.Q. (1993). A behavioral analysis of effective teaching. School Psychology Quarterly, 8, 10-26.

Mayer, G. R., & Sulzer-Azaroff, B. (2002). Interventions for vandalism and aggression. In M. R. Shinn, H. M. Walker, & G. Stoner (Eds.). Interventions for academic and behavior problems II: Preventive and remedial approaches (pp. 853-883). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.

Mayer, G.R., & Ybarra, W.J. (2003). Teaching alternative behaviors schoolwide: A resource guide to prevent discipline problems. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Office of Education. Retrieved October 4, 2005, from http://www.lacoe.edu/DocsForms/20031008084414_TABS.pdf

New Zealand Ministry of Education. (2003). Safe behaviour on buses: Reference guide for bus drivers. Author. Retrieved October 11, 2005, from http://www.minedu.govt.nz/web/downloadable/dl9987_v1/tool-4-reference-guide-for-drivers.doc

Olweus, D. (1993). Bullying in school: What we know and what we can do. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers.

Sprick, R. S., Borgmeier, C., & Nolet, V. (2002). Prevention and management of behavior problems in secondary schools. In M. R. Shinn, H. M. Walker, & G. Stoner (Eds.). Interventions for academic and behavior problems II: Preventive and remedial approaches (pp. 373-401). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.

Srednicki, H. J. (1997). School bus safety: A handout for parents and teachers. In Behavioral interventions: Creating a safe environment in our schools (pp. 1 & 3). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School psychologists. Retrieved October 4, 2005, from http://www.naspweb.org/center/pdf/nmhec.pdf

Sugai, G., & Horner, R.H. (2002). Behaviorally effective school environments. In M. R. Shinn, H. M. Walker, & G. Stoner (Eds.). Interventions for academic and behavior problems II: Preventive and remedial approaches (pp. 315-350). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.

Copyright ©2014 Jim Wright