When children go back to school, they often spend a lot of time on school busses. In addition to transportation to and from school, youth programs and YMCAs often use school busses for field trips and other activities. School busses are an extremely safe mode of transportation for children. In fact, children are safer in school busses than they are in cars! And an important element of school bus safety is proper supervision. Organizations must keep this in mind and develop a plan to supervise children on busses.
Without proper supervision, the school bus can, unfortunately, become a place where bullying and child-on-child abuse can occur. This happens many times if the driver is the only adult on the bus or if staff members are all sitting together at the front of the bus. The driver must focus on the road and if other adults on the bus are chatting or otherwise distracted, children are largely unsupervised. Combine this with the fact that there are often mixed age groups on busses, and it can be a recipe for disaster.
School Bus Supervision Tips
Luckily, there are some easy ways for staff to keep kids safe on school busses.
- Spread out: Ensure staff are spaced out in different spots throughout the bus.
- Assign seats: If staff need to watch some children more closely, assign seats for them closest to staff. Or better yet, assign seats for all.
- Separate age groups: Have younger children sit in the front of the bus and older children sit in the rear.
- Teach appropriate bus behaviors: Discuss with children ahead of time what’s expected of them while on the bus.
- Have consistent consequences for misbehavior: If children know they’ll face consequences for bullying or abuse while on the bus, this may help deter that behavior.