For those that don’t know, I substitute on the buses. I don’t have a regular route that I do, so I end up learning and doing many different routes. Because I am employed as a full time employee, my position is considered a “floater” because I bounce around on many different buses.
It seems though that behavior issues are much larger and more apparent today than they were 15 years ago when I was in elementary school. I seem to have a lot of kids who misbehave on the bus. The children who ride the bus break many of the bus rules. Common rules found on the bus are:
1. Observe same conduct as in the classroom.
2. Be courteous, use no profane language.
3. Do not eat or drink on the bus.
4. Keep the bus clean.
5. Cooperate with the driver.
6. Do not smoke.
7. Do not be destructive.
8. Stay in your seat.
9. Keep head, hands, and feet inside the bus.
10. Bus driver is authorized to assign seats.
All of these rules are posted on a yellow sheet inside most school buses.
1. Safety zones around the outside of the bus.
Every rider who gets on the school bus should take each of these rules seriously. It seems though more and more we get massive behavior problems from the students who ride. Yes, the bus driver takes certain credibility with how their bus behaves, but there are many kids who disregard the rules completely. The most common rules that are broke are the eating and drinking rule, and the stay in your seat rule. These rules are followed by the no profane language rule, and the conduct in the classroom rule.
Everyday I deal with children who will not stay seated, who cuss me out, who get into fights with each other, and who constantly eat and drink on the bus – leaving the trash all over the floor of the bus. In some buses, it’s an everyday occurrence with the SAME students. The buses in my district are equipped with cameras that catch the students every move. Many times the tapes are useful in showing the principal or assistant principal exactly what a student is doing on the bus. It’s also helpful when a parent comes to the bus shop or the school claiming their children “couldn’t have been the one” to misbehave. After all, little Suzy or Johnny is an “angel”.
I believe the increase in the misbehavior on school buses and in schools is largely due to the increase in children who believe they are “entitled”. Discipline isn’t what it used to be over 20 years ago because it is considered to be “abusive” and “negative” on the child’s psyche. This entitlement shift has been the main reason why it is now “someone else’s” fault for the child’s misbehavior. Parents don’t want to take responsibility and discipline their children appropriately for misbehavior due to the thinking that discipline is bad for children. Increasingly, the schools are at a loss as to what to do with the child who misbehaves. Excuses are made for behavior problems. “Alternative” schools are created to “allow” these behavior problems to have an education anyways. It’s like saying to a child, “Its ok you misbehaved, and you won’t be held accountable for your actions because there are other options for you.”
So now instead of taking an adult school bus driver’s word over the child’s, the tape is pulled from the bus and is used to show the behavior problem. Since WHEN is a camera and tape more important than an adult’s word over the children’s word?
Even so, children do not get removed from the riding PRIVILEGE or suffer the same consequences as many of us did when we were younger. We even cater to them by stopping “door to door” thereby wasting fuel and time. All respect is lost for adult authority because everyone makes excuses. Children will misbehave, but the excuses need to stop.
The Bus Driver