Student Conduct on the School Bus

Student Conduct on the School Bus
Safety Rules and Infraction Consequences


The student school day begins as students board the bus. With the safety of all students in mind, it is essential that students and parents understand and observe the following concepts and safety rules:


  1. Riding the school bus is a privilege. School buses are considered extensions of the classroom, and student behavior on buses is required to mirror behavior standards for the classroom. The Student Code of Conduct is in effect while aboard school buses. State law requires all passengers to obey bus driver instructions and bus drivers to report conduct issues to school administrators. Repeated Code of Conduct violations, violation of the safety rules below or disobeying driver instructions will result in suspension or revocation of bus privileges. Parents/guardians please share these rules and the consequences for breaking them with your student.
  2. School Bus Assignment and Bus Stop Safety Rules:
    1. South Carolina law, Section 59-67-415, states parents or guardians are responsible for the safety, conduct, and the timely arrival of their children to, from, and at the designated school bus stop. This applies to the time before the school bus arrives to pick up students for delivery to school and after the school bus departs the designated school bus stop after student drop off.
    2. Students may ride only the bus to which they are assigned (based on the location of their residence or day care).
    3. Students may not use buses or bus stops other than those assigned to them without written permission by parents/guardians to the school and with approval of the Principal and Transportation Department. Bus Rider Verification Form is required.
    4. Students must be at the designated school bus stop when the bus arrives.
    5. Students should stand away from the roadway and clear of traffic at bus stops. Students must not stand or play in the roadway. Horseplay at bus stops is forbidden and students must respect the property of others.
    6. Students should stand no closer than 15 feet from the bus and wait until the driver opens the door before moving toward the bus. If necessary to cross a roadway to board the bus, students must wait on the sidewalk or side of the road until the bus driver directs them to cross. Cross in front of the stopped bus and walk, not run. Do not walk behind a school bus; the driver can’t see you.
    7. Students should not run toward the bus when the bus is moving. Wait until it comes to a complete stop and then walk to the bus entry door.
    8. Students riding a bus home after school must move quickly to the bus after school is dismissed. When a school administrator signals the buses to depart and the bus doors close, no additional student loading is permitted. Buses will not return to schools for students who miss the bus.
    9. Students must remain seated until the bus comes to a complete stop. Never attempt to leave the seat before the bus comes to a full stop and the driver indicates it is safe to depart.
    10. Students should exit the bus in an orderly manner.
    11. Do not loiter or play around a stopped or parked bus.
    12. Do not enter restricted areas or school grounds set aside for bus parking or loading.
    13. After departing the bus, if they must cross the roadway, students must wait beyond the front crossing gate off the road until the bus driver or school bus patrol directs them to cross.


Note to Parents and guardians: DO NOT attempt to board the bus for any reason. State law prohibits this in Section 59-67-245, Interference with the Operation of a School Bus.


       3. Safety Rules While on the School Bus:

    1. Go to the assigned seat and remain properly seated while the bus is in motion. Students must sit facing forward and feet and legs must be out of the bus aisle.
    2. Never extend arms, legs, or head out of the bus doors or windows.
    3. Students should not talk to the driver while the bus is in motion, except in an emergency.
    4. Quiet conversation is normally allowed, however students may not shout or talk loudly. Bus drivers may forbid talking when it creates an unsafe condition such as students being unable to hear safety instructions.
    5. Federal law requires students to be quiet when the school bus stops at railroad crossings.
    6. No eating on the bus. No drinking on the bus except water when authorized by the driver.
    7. No use of mobile phones, iPods, or similar electronic devices on the school bus.
    8. Hoods are not permitted to be worn on the school bus unless the bus driver allows it in severely cold situations.
    9. Never tamper with the emergency door or any other bus equipment.
    10. Do not damage, mark on, or deface the bus. Seat coverings must not be damaged in any manner.  Students should report any bus or seat damage to the bus driver as soon as possible. If a student is found to have damaged a school bus, the student will be charged the assessed repair rate set by the State Department of Education. The student responsible for the damage will be suspended from riding the bus until restitution is made in full.
    11. Only the driver or other authorized person should remove first aid equipment, which is for emergency treatment only.
    12. Do not tamper with the fire extinguisher. Only the driver should use it for an emergency.
    13. Do not throw objects from the bus windows.
    14. Students may not transport any item on a school bus that cannot be safely secured in the student’s lap. This includes band instruments, lunch boxes, science projects, sports equipment and fund raising items. Band instruments must fit on the student’s lap. See expanded explanation on the Transportation webpage.
    15. Students may not bring animals or insects on school buses. Any item forbidden at school is also forbidden on school buses.
    16. Leave all pencils, school supplies, and personal items inside your backpack or book bag.
    17. All items brought on the bus must be secured in the student’s lap for the entire trip. Sporting equipment (balls, rackets, bats, etc) and any item with wheels (roller skates, skateboards, etc) must be completely enclosed in a case or bag and must also be held in the student’s lap. No item may be placed in the aisles, under a seat, in another seat or on the engine compartment cover.
    18. In accordance with South Carolina law, students misbehaving on the school bus will be referred to the school’s administrator for appropriate disciplinary action.


4. Misconduct on the school bus—procedures and consequences. Drivers will work directly with students to correct misconduct. When attempted correction does not remedy the situation the driver is required by South Carolina law to report non-compliance with his/her lawful instructions and/or misconduct on the bus to the school principal. This is known as a referral or write up. Buses are equipped with video surveillance equipment to assist principals in addressing student conduct issues. Bus riders will be denied bus privileges if their behavior is unacceptable or infringes on the rights of other bus riders. It will be the responsibility of the parent or guardian to provide transportation to school during the suspension period. For the safety of all students, school administrators will normally follow these guidelines for addressing referrals for of misconduct on the bus:


    1. First Referral:               Warning and parent notification of consequences for future incidents
    2. Second Referral:               One (1) to five (5) days’ suspension from bus
    3. Third Referral:              Five (5) to ten (10) days’ suspension from bus
    4. Fourth Referral:                Ten (10) to thirty (30) days’ suspension from bus
    5. Fifth Referral:                   Loss of bus privileges for the remainder of the school year.


Please note, these guidelines apply to cumulative referrals for bus misconduct. That is, consequences will progress in severity as a student accumulates referrals for rules infractions from one incident to the next. The sequence will not start over simply because a rules infraction is different than infractions in previous referrals. For extreme misconduct, immediate revocation of bus privileges may be warranted.


Students and parents should not attempt to discuss school bus rule violations or disciplinary measures with the school bus driver at a bus stop. Students who attempt to board the bus while suspended or adults who attempt to board or interfere with the operation of the bus, may be prosecuted under applicable South Carolina law.