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School Bus Passenger Safety Guidelines

If you are the parent/guardian of a student receiving transportation services from SFUSD, please review these safety guidelines with your students.

Bus Stop Rules to Know and Follow

Before Your Child Takes the Bus

  • Before your child takes the bus for the first time you must review with him/her where they are to get on and off the bus.
  • If you plan on picking your child up from the bus, please be sure your child knows what to do in the event you are not there when they get off the bus.
  • No driver will ever put a child off the bus if they do not want to get off.  However, if a child walks off the bus (regardless of age) the driver will take it to mean that they are following your instructions.

Walking to the School Bus

If at all possible, walk young children to and from the bus stop.  If that’s not an option for your family, walk them to and from the stop on a few different occasions so they can become familiar with the route they are going to take.

Here are some pedestrian safety tips to share with your child.

  • Obey all traffic signals.
  • Only cross a street at the corner
  • Always look both ways before crossing a street or a driveway and at alleys (Hint, when you are with your child, exaggerate your head turns and describe what you are doing so they know what you are doing)
  • Never talk to a stranger, and never take a ride from a stranger
  • If they are walking with a group, they should stay with the group
  • Never play while waiting to cross the street at an intersection
  • Always leave enough time to get to the stop without having to run

Waiting for the School Bus

Your child should arrive at least 5 minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive. 

Busses are on strict schedules and cannot wait more than one minute for students who are late for pick-up. This applies at school, at students’ homes or other pick-up sites, and on field trips.

If a bus arrives early, the driver will still wait one minute past the student’s scheduled pick-up time for the student to board. If a bus arrives late, the driver will wait one minute from the time they arrive for the student to board. If a bus is 15 minutes late or more, please report it using the Transportation Feedback Form.

Anytime a school bus is stopped for the purpose of loading or unloading students, the red flashing signal lights and stop signal arm will be operated.

Be sure to reinforce with your child the importance of being careful when around any bus.

Please review the following safety guidelines with your child.

  • Never run to or from the bus
  • Do not push or shove other students
  • Respect the property of those who live near the bus stop
  • Stay outside of the ‘Danger Zone’ (6 feet to the side and 10 feet to the front and back) and away from the bus until the driver tells them it is ok to enter the bus
  • Stand at least 6 feet (three giant steps) away from the curb
  • Hold the handrail when getting on the bus to avoid falling
  • Secure loose drawstrings on backpacks and other objects that could get caught in the handrail or door of the bus
  • Never crawl under the bus for any reason - in the event something has fallen under the bus, ask the bus driver to help

Expected Behavior on the Bus

Parents cannot ride the bus with their students.

Drivers will work directly with the school principal to manage and respond to any disciplinary issues on the bus.  Buses are an extension of the school, and student behavior and consequences for misconduct will be managed by the school principal. Three citations for misconduct may result in a 3-5 day suspension from the bus, and four citations may result in suspension from the bus for the year.

Please review the expected behavior on the bus with your child.    

  • Enter the bus quietly and go straight to a seat
  • Put on the seat belt and keep it on the entire time
  • Stay in your seat until the bus arrives and comes to a complete stop
  • Keep the aisles clear
Please do not:
  • Eat or drink on the bus
  • Bring sharp objects or dangerous items on the bus
  • Bring pets or other animals on the bus
  • Throw things within or out of the bus
Be courteous and polite:  
  • Keep voices soft - the driver must be able to hear & respond to traffic
  • Respect bus equipment
  • Listen to your driver and follow their guidelines

Exiting the Bus

Anytime a school bus is stopped for the purpose of loading or unloading students, the red flashing signal lights and stop signal arm will be operated.

Be sure to reinforce with your child the importance of being careful when around any bus.

Please review the following safety guidelines with your child.

  • Remain seated and in your seat belt until the bus comes to a complete stop
  • Hold the handrail when getting off the bus to avoid falling
  • Secure loose drawstrings on backpacks and other objects that could get caught in the handrail or door of the bus
  • Immediate after getting off the bus, take three giants steps away from the bus
  • Stay outside of the ‘Danger Zone’ (6 feet to the side and 10 feet to the front and back) and away from the bus
  • Never crawl under the bus for any reason - in the event something has fallen under the bus, ask the driver to help

Be sure your child knows what to do if you are not there when they get off the bus. No driver will ever put a child off the bus if they do not want to get off.  However, if a child walks off the bus (regardless of age) the driver will take it to mean they are following your instructions.

Anytime a student who is getting off at a stop needs to cross the street in front of the bus, the Driver must escort the student across the street.  If your child is going to have to cross the street when they get off the bus, please make sure they are aware that when they get off the bus they must wait for the Driver to help them cross the street.

Procedures for Responding to Misconduct on the Bus

If a student’s behavior becomes a problem on the bus, the Driver will write up a misconduct citation and will share it with the School Principal, and First Student will share a copy with the Transportation Department.

Busses are an extension of the school, and student behavior and consequences for misconduct will be managed by the Principal in a manner that’s consistent with their policies and procedures.

Drivers should work directly with the school administrator to manage and respond to disciplinary issues on the bus.

Consequences

  • 3 citations may result in a 3 -5 day suspension from that bus route
  • 4 citations may result in suspension from the bus route for the rest of the school year

First Citation

The principal will:

  • Talk it over with the child/children involved
  • Send the citation home for a signature from the parent/guardian

Second Citation

The principal will:

  • Talk it over with the child/children involved
  • Inform the parents/guardian that if the behavior does not improve a three to five day suspension of bus riding privileges might take place with the next citation
  • Give the citation to the parent/guardian at the conference or mail it home
  • Get a copy of the signed citation from the parent/guardian

Third Citation

The principal will:

  • Notify the family that a third citation has been issued
  • At their discretion, suspend the student’s riding privileges for three to five days

Fourth Citation

The principal will:

  • Notify the family that a fourth citation has been issued
  • At their discretion, suspend the student’s riding privileges for up to the remainder of the semester/school year

Please note

Bus riding privledges may be suspended on a first citation if the offense is of a serious and/or dangerous nature. Having bus riding privledges suspended does not relieve the parent or guardian of the responsibility of the child's attendance at school.