The ride to and from school is essentially an extension of the school itself. Improper conduct aboard the bus is to be treated as a school offense, subject to punishment at the discretion of school administration. This may well mean a denial of the privilege of transportation. Continued offenses are to be accepted as cause for a hearing before the Assistant Superintendent of Schools or the School Committee. In the interest of safety and well-being of all students being transported, students, parents/guardians, teachers, administrators, and bus drivers must understand and practice the regulations which follow.
1. The bus driver is in full charge of the students therein. He or she shall have the right to assign students to specific seats within the bus and shall accept as his/her responsibility the obligation to report to the administration the names of any students who seriously misbehave.
2. There is to be no smoking aboard any bus at any time. This is a requirement of Massachusetts state law.
3. Windows and doors are not to be opened or closed except with the permission of the bus driver. At no time are objects of any kind to be thrown within the bus or through any open window.
4. Students must wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before boarding or exiting. There is to be no moving about once the bus is in motion.
5. Students, who must cross the street to board the school bus, are reminded to wait until the bus comes to a complete stop and the driver has turned on the flashing red lights. Students, then, are to look both ways to check for traffic before crossing the street to board the bus. Students exiting the bus, who must cross the street to proceed home, are to pass in front of the bus; stop; look both ways; then cross the street with caution (many drivers do not obey the "flashing school bus lights rule").
6. Improper language is not to be tolerated and shall be considered cause for a report to administration; shouting and/or screaming is not to be considered proper and is to be regarded as cause for disciplinary action; radios and/or other electronic music devices are not to be brought aboard buses and, if present on the vehicle, are subject to confiscation at the discretion of the driver.
7. The following are to be considered infractions of rules during transport for which students may be reported and disciplinary action invoked: refusing to obey the driver, fighting, lighting matches or cigarette lighters, hanging out of a window, bothering others, or any other behavior which distracts the driver from the safe operation of the vehicle and jeopardizes the safety of all passengers.
8. Objects which may be considered a safety hazard (as determined by school administration), or any animals, are not to be brought on school buses at any time. Skateboards and in-line/traditional skates are not to be brought on school buses.
9. Students must be at their proper bus stops and on time according to the established schedule. They are to wait for the bus at a point designated by the bus driver and are to conduct themselves in a manner that causes no inconvenience to neighbors in the loading area. Students are to ride only on that bus to which they have been assigned.
10. Damage to the school bus should be considered the same as damage to any school property. Those who deface or otherwise destroy such property are to be held responsible for its repair or replacement.
11. All primary bus stops are based on the student's primary residence. At the discretion of the building administration, and with consideration of the school's enrollment, a student may be allowed a second consistent stop on another bus route for parental/guardian or designee custody, daycare, and babysitting reasons. In no cases will the number of assigned stops exceed two stops. In addition, the building administration may allow a transfer to a bus for emergency purposes. All additional (secondary and emergency) bus stops are allowed provided that there is space available and the drop off point is on an existing bus route. The parent/guardian or designee must send in a note of request to the building administration, including telephone numbers of persons to be contacted in case of emergency. Should space cease to exist, transportation will become the responsibility of the parents/guardians or designee.
12. Bus discipline forms will be used by the drivers and administrators, as needed.
13. Reasons for Suspension of Bus Privileges:
a. Repeated refusals to obey the driver.
b. Repeatedly hanging out bus windows.
c. Throwing objects on the bus: chronic or acute.
d. Repeated refusal to remain seated.
e. Opening the emergency door of the bus.
g. Careless damage to the school bus.
h. Rude and defiant behavior.
j. Violating substance abuse regulations.
k. Possession of a weapon per Chapter 150.
l. Swearing at a driver.
m. Threatening a driver with physical abuse.
n. Lighting firecrackers.
o. Igniting a smoke bomb.
p. Physical abuse of a driver.
q. Lighting matches.
r. Fighting in the form of physical altercation which endangers the safety of the bus.
t. Any other offense which an administrator deems inappropriate.
Any violations within the above section may result in further disciplinary action up to and including a Central Office hearing and/or expulsion.
14. Video cameras may be installed on school buses for administrative use.
15. Offenses against this code of conduct may prove cause for disciplinary action, including suspension or expulsion from school.