The Wheels on the Bus... Feedback Friday

Yesterday, a friend of mine called for advice about dealing with a bus driver. She was upset that the driver had made an inappropriate comment to her child while disciplining him at his stop.

The child's mother called to ask who she should contact to have this driver disciplined and/or removed and this raised a whole host of questions...

Who does a bus driver ultimately answer to - the bus service or the school?

For that matter...

What are a bus driver's responsibilities - to simply drive a bus or should they also be responsible for discipline and/or educating children?

I just don't know - Are bus drivers trained to deal with children appropriately or just to drive the vehicle?

Any bus drivers or school employees out there who can shed some light? Any moms with an opinion? Any students with similar experience?

It's Feedback Friday... Tell me about bus drivers!



  1. I don't know! I would say it depends on how out of line the kid was. The bus driver needs to have some control of the bus and the environment, otherwise it could be complete chaos. Obviously, the driver needs to control his/her words and actions, but the kids should know there are consequences for poor behavior.

    I still remember my bus driver from kindergarten. Mrs. Lewis, Bus 8. I was terrified of her. That bus was next to SILENT every day!!

  2. Let me get this right...your friend wishes the bus driver to lose his job because of a comment he made? It must've been some comment. If I were to offer advice, I'd suggest that your friend speak directly to the bus driver and ask what he said. Perhaps she'd have a better idea of the entire situation. Then she can go from there if necessary. Perhaps, instead, there'd be enlightenment on both sides.

    Silence is golden on buses. The last experience I had with a bus driver was wonderful. She didn't allow any talking or noise, but she played kid friendly music. It was great.

  3. I've had a BOAT load of problems with our bus drivers throughout the years. Lord...the stories I could tell ya!
    The PROBLEM is that most of the time, the bus driver works for the bus COMPANY, who's contract is through the school. The driver themselves have rules that they need to follow, via the contract the school board lays out, but they only answer to the bus COMPANY.

    This year our driver decided he was angry as the kids, and turned around without saying a word about what he was doing, and went back to the school...which was closed with no staff there. The parents lost complete contact with their children for 45 min. (My son is no longer riding the evening bus, because that driver is STILL driving.)
    When we complained to the school transportation director, there was nothing they could do, but relay the complaints to the Superintendent...but because the contract for the year had already been signed, there was nothing they could do but hope that the bus company reprimanded the driver. That didn't happen.

    Since my son was on the bus we've dealt with young children being left at my stop, leaving me responsible for driving them home, the driver repeatedly leaving my son at his stop, the driver talking on the cell phone while driving, the driver stopping for strangers on the side of the road, and letting them board the bus while the children are on it, and a laundry list of other issues. Letters have been sent, calls have been made, and meetings have been had. Sadly, the only real option for schools that sign contracts with bus companies...is to be there when the contract is being hashed out to have your voice heard. If you're lucky enough to be in a district that owns their own buses, they answer to the school and complaints will be dealt with by the administration office.

    Best of luck to your friend. It's NOT a comfortable situation to be in, but she has to address the situation, if only to draw attention of other parents.

  4. In our school district, we still own our buses. But I agree that the driver should have control over their bus. With so many children, and them driving your precious cargo, there needs to be some semblance of order.
    I work in a public school system & our "chain of command" protocol is that you 1st contact the driver/teacher/counselor - whichever is the party with whom you're having the issue......the driver. If you aren't satisfied with that, you go to the next in command & so on & so on.....

  5. I have learned just from my husband being an elem school teacher that misbehaving kids on the bus are dealt with by the school. In the beginning of the school year parents are given handouts and the bus rules are listed. I hear many stories of elem school kids that are not allowed on the bus for a week after they misbahaved (and the parents have to get the kids to school). So around here I believe the bus drivers are taught how to “radio” the school as the first step in the process. I heard this year from my middle school son that a middle schooler was kicked off the bus for a week too. There are kids who mouth off to other kids, a kid who hit another (no one reported it because in the entire busload of kids everyone felt that awful kid who got hit deserved it as the hitter could not take it anymore).
    To answer your question, if a parent has any concerns, the bus driver is an employee of the school system (at least over here) and the school should be called.

  6. Last year (my daughter was a kindergartener), the bus driver was listening to inappropriate music on the bus. I called the supervisor for the buses first and asked what the policy was about music. Turns out she was listening to a station that was not allowed on the bus. Then I talked to her and told her that I appreciated her promptness and was grateful that she was there to drive the children back and forth, but I told her that I was concerned about the lyrics my child was listening to and even handed her a print out of the song (it was BAD!) She was shocked by the lyrics and promised to make sure she had one of the approved stations on from that point on. It was non-confrontational and she was completely nice to me for the rest of the year.

    I think it would have been a disaster if I had gone behind her back first. Talking to the driver should be the first thing you do and then if you don't get a satisfactory response or action, go to their supervisor. I think bus driver has to be one of the hardest jobs. They have to drive all of those children in a large vehicle and deal with noise, traffic, etc.

  7. My Dad is a bus driver and it is ALWAYS better to talk to the bus driver first. Keep in mind that the mother has only heard one side of the story. I know that parents don't want to believe it, but kids can exaggerate. Although there are plenty of bad bus drivers, there are also plenty of good bus drivers who are doing what they can to get your kids safely home.

    A bus drivers job is to keep the kids safe. He can't do that if he isn't allowed to discipline.

  8. Very interesting... I've never really dealt with that but I do agree with what adrienne says about what a bus driver's job is... though where they draw the line really depends on the situation. I would talk to the bus driver first.

  9. It varies by district. In my area bus drivers are hired by, trained by, and answer to the school district. The mom should talk with the bus driver first...there are always 2 sides. I know we think 'my child would never...' but, I hate to tell you...sometimes they will. If it needs to go further, contact the principal. At least that is our process. Good question.


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