School buses constitute one of the safest forms of transportation in the nation, with an accident rate about one-hundredth that of private passenger automobiles, according to information received from the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the school transportation industry.
Stringent legal regulation and oversight, combined with impact-absorbing vehicle design, systematic vehicle maintenance/inspection, driver care, and student safety training make school bus accident injuries comparatively rare. However, significant risks remain.
Parents and students must play the lead role in reducing these risks. The twin realities of school bus operation are that far more children are hurt outside of the bus than inside, and drivers have far less ability to control such external risks.
The State of California and Harvard-Westlake School have established rules and regulations for students riding school buses. Student compliance is essential. Parents are asked to promote compliance by reading these rules and regulations and discussing them with their children.
California Code of Regulations Title 5, Section 14103(a) states that: "Pupils transported in a school bus or in a school pupil activity bus shall be under the authority of, and responsible directly to, the driver of the bus, and the driver shall be held responsible for the orderly conduct of the pupils while they are on the bus or being escorted across a street, highway, or road. Continued disorderly conduct or persistent refusal to submit to the authority of the driver shall be sufficient reason for a pupil to be denied transportation. A bus driver shall not require any pupil to leave the bus en-route between home and school or other destinations."
Harvard-Westlake shall instruct its drivers and its external contractors that, in cases of continued disorderly conduct or persistent refusal to submit to the authority of the driver, a report shall be made to the designated school official (typically, the student’s dean). Such infractions may lead to disciplinary action, including but not limited to suspension or revocation of bus transportation.
Harvard-Westlake bus rules may be communicated to students in a variety of fashions, including but not limited to printed and electronic listings, verbal instruction by drivers and school officials, safety videos and other means. Key rules are listed below:
- Obey the letter and spirit of the Student Handbook.
- Demonstrate self-restraint, self-discipline and common sense.
- Obey all bus rules, as may be communicated by the driver, other bus company personnel, school personnel, school publications, school assemblies and other means.
- Follow all driver instruction, which may address behavior, seat selection and other safety and welfare matters.
- Demonstrate respect for the driver, fellow riders, bus stop neighbors, the bus, personal property, and overall safety.
At the Stop
- It is the responsibility of parents/guardians to ensure their students arrive safely at the assigned bus stops.
- It is recommended that parents/guardians make arrangements to receive students when they are returned to their bus stops at the end of the day.
- Students may cross only to/from stops at signal-controlled intersections, and in compliance with those signals.
- For stops which are not at signal-controlled intersections, parents must provide for the safe transportation of students (1) to the side of the street on which the departure stop is located and (2) from the side of the street on which the return stop is located. Additionally, we strongly encourage this practice at bus stops that are at signal-controlled intersections.
- Please do not seek pick-up or drop-off at any location other than an established stop, except as requested in advance through the Transportation Safety Administrator and approved by the Administrator.
- Students must arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes before departure. Last-minute arrivals create traffic hazards, pedestrian risks, and schedule delays.
- Under no circumstances should a late rider or his/her parents try to flag down a bus that is departing or attempt to block its departure.
- Stand well back from the street.
- Continue to stand back until the bus has arrived, stopped and opened its door.
- Do not play or rough house, as this could drive a student into the traffic flow.
- Respect fellow riders, their property, the property of bus stop neighbors, and the tranquility of the neighborhood.
On the Bus
- Use seat belts, immediately upon taking a seat, throughout the ride, and until the bus has stopped at the destination.
- Remain in your seat, facing forward, for the duration of the trip.
- Keep emergency exits and aisles clear at all times.
- Respect the window boundary: No body parts protruding. No items tossed. Nothing shouted.
- Respect other riders' personal space: No physical or verbal attacks. No taunts. No harassment. No bullying.
- Do not disrupt the driver with your voice or actions.
- Do not tamper with bus controls, emergency exits or safety equipment.
- Do not compromise the safety or well-being of others.
- Do not bring hazardous or destructive objects (i.e. firearms, weapons, explosives, sharp or pointed objects, lighters or matches) on the bus.