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School Bus Driver Training. Unit B Student Management and Discipline. Objectives. At the end of this session school bus operators will be able to: Describe local policy for appropriate student behavior on the bus Demonstrate essential components of effective driver-student interaction

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School Bus Driver Training

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School bus driver training

School Bus Driver Training

Unit B

Student Management and Discipline



  • At the end of this session school bus operators will be able to:

    • Describe local policy for appropriate student behavior on the bus

    • Demonstrate essential components of effective driver-student interaction

    • Describe local policy on serious discipline problems

    • Recognize typical behavior patterns for students in different age groups

    • Demonstrate basic concepts of Assertive Discipline



  • School bus drivers are in the ‘people’ business

  • Student behavior is a safety issue

  • School bus drivers are responsible for safety

  • The school principal is ultimately responsible for discipline

School bus driver responsibilities

School Bus Driver Responsibilities

  • School Bus Driver Training Manual contains a list of responsibilities

  • Driver’s responsibilities fit into several categories:

    • Employer (procedures)

    • School district (procedures, regulations)

    • People (students, parents, school personnel)

    • Bus (neat, clean, obvious mechanical issues)

    • Self (attitude, positive image, preparedness)

Characteristics of the successful b us driver

Characteristics of the Successful Bus Driver

  • Confident and effective

  • Creates a positive environment for students

  • Has clear rules for students to follow

  • Uses good driving skills

  • Knows and follows the route

  • Provides good customer service

  • Takes pride in personal appearance

  • Keeps a clean bus

  • Knows what makes him/her angry and remaining calm when “buttons” are pushed

  • Does not take student comments personally

Some inappropriate driver behaviors

Some Inappropriate Driver Behaviors

  • Being confrontational

  • Being sarcastic

  • Arguing

  • Yelling

  • Using brakes to manage students

Student responsibilities

Student Responsibilities

  • Poor student behavior can distract drivers

  • Clear rules must be established by the driver and followed by the students

  • Students and parents must understand that rules contribute to the safety of the bus

  • Students and parents must understand that breaking rules brings consequences

Expectations for students

Expectations for students

  • Following all district, school, and bus rules

  • Taking responsibility for their actions

  • Being respectful of other students’ rights

  • Being on time at bus stop locations

  • Following all safety procedures at the bus stop

  • Following all safety procedures on the bus

  • Responding immediately and appropriately to bus driver instructions

Some inappropriate student behaviors

Some Inappropriate Student Behaviors

  • Excessive noise

  • Portions of bodies out windows

  • Moving about while the bus is in motion

  • Throwing objects around inside the bus

  • Throwing objects outside the bus

  • Crowding and shoving

  • Pushing, tripping, kicking

Some inappropriate student behaviors1

Some Inappropriate Student Behaviors

  • Refusing to share a seat

  • Grabbing the property of others

  • Vulgar language

  • Name calling

  • Bullying and harassment

  • Hitting, fighting

Driver student interactions

Driver-Student Interactions

  • General guidelines for interacting with students

  • Remember that “Bus drivers have CLASS”

  • C-L-A-S-S: A student management memory aid

A student management memory aid

A Student Management Memory Aid


    • C – Consistent

    • L – Limits

    • A – Attitude

    • S – Share

    • S - Support

What a driver can do to manage s tudent behavior

What a Driver Can Do to Manage Student Behavior

  • Learn the names of your students

  • Greet students

  • Use different voice levels

  • Be conscious of body language

  • Be conscious of eye language

  • Give positive feedback

  • Be polite

  • Give mature commands

Successful t echniques of discipline

Successful Techniques of Discipline

  • My job/your job explanation

  • Teach your students the rules

  • Explain the consequences of misbehaving

  • Give warnings and keep documentation

  • Match the consequence to the behavior and be consistent in both discipline and follow through

  • Give positive rewards for good behavior

Teaching the rules on your bus

Teaching the Rules on Your Bus

Students may need to practice something 24 times or more before they reach 80% competency on a skill (Marzano, 1991, Classroom Instruction that Works)



No skill

Suggestions for bus rules

Suggestions for Bus Rules

  • Observable and measurable behavior

  • Positively stated

  • No more than 3-5 rules

With thanks to Sprick & Colvin (1992)

Applying discipline on the school bus

Applying Discipline on the School Bus

  • Make initial contact by “noticing”

  • “I noticed you did a great job keeping your hands to yourself today. Keep up the good work!”

  • “I noticed you were pushing Jennifer”

  • “I noticed you were keeping to yourself today and looked really unhappy”

Ask open ended questions

Ask Open-ended Questions

  • “What’s the problem?” (The student must explain)

  • “What’s the consequence for spitting on other people?” (The student must give an example of the consequence)

Quick unthreatening interventions

Quick, Unthreatening Interventions

  • “What is the rule? What are you supposed to do?”

  • “It looks like you have a problem, how could I help you solve it?”

  • “What do you want from me?”

  • “If you could make this situation better, what would you do?”

Questions to ask a fter intervening

Questions to Ask After Intervening

  • “What are you doing to make this work?”

  • “Have you thought about how to solve it?”

  • “Is it helping to solve the situation?”

  • “If you continue to do what you’re doing, what will happen?”

  • “What could you do to make this successful?”

Serious discipline problems

Serious Discipline Problems

  • Follow school district’s procedures

  • Remove the bus from traffic

  • Be courteous, yet firm

  • Do only what is within your power

  • Never touch a student

  • Document incidents as needed

  • Report serious cases to supervisor or school principal

Reporting behavior problems

Reporting Behavior Problems

  • Documenting behavior problems is an important component in discipline procedures

  • Use common language

  • Write reported behaviors that are:

    • Observable – What did it look like / sound like?

    • Measurable – How long? How often?

  • Patterns of behavior will emerge more easily when documentation is accurate and thorough

Reporting behavior problems1

Reporting Behavior Problems

  • Details to include in behavior reports:

  • What was happening at the time?

  • What did the student do/say?

  • What did you do as the driver / assistant?

  • How did the student respond to you?

Reporting behavior problems2

Reporting Behavior Problems

  • Possible format for documenting and reporting behavior problems

With thanks to Sprick & Colvin (1992)

Reporting behavior problems3

Reporting Behavior Problems

  • Example:

With thanks to Sprick & Colvin (1992)

Characteristics of student behavior

Characteristics of Student Behavior

  • Kindergarten and elementary (K-5)

  • Middle school (6-8)

  • Secondary school (9-12)

Kindergarten and elementary k 5

Kindergarten and Elementary (K-5)

  • Tend to move about

  • Tend to talk when expected to be still

  • Tend to have limited attention spans

  • Tend to have limited memories

  • Tend to care about adult perceptions of them

  • Tend to actively reject those that do not fit in

Middle school 6 8

Middle School (6-8)

  • Self-centered

  • More focused on acceptance and popularity among peers

  • Adolescence brings mood swings

  • Test limits of adult authority

  • Aggression in the form of bullying and harassment

  • Conformity in communication and dress develop

  • Exploration of sexual relations begins

  • Delinquent social activities may begin

Secondary school 9 12

Secondary School (9-12)

  • Socially self-conscious

  • Romantic relationships emerge

  • Concerned with their dignity

  • Concerned with conformity to group norms

  • Chronic gossips

Managing student behavior

Managing Student Behavior

  • Keep discipline private whenever possible

  • Stay professional

  • Set discipline standards

  • Work with school authorities

  • Don’t deal with on-bus problems when loading and unloading

Keep discipline private whenever possible

Keep Discipline Private Whenever Possible

  • Individual problem behaviors are best handled individually

  • Avoid showdowns with chronic troublemakers

  • Do not threaten the entire busload for the actions of a few

    • unless the general safety of the bus is threatened

Stay professional

Stay Professional

  • Be fair

    • Do not be lenient when “good” students misbehave

    • Do not be less lenient when troublemakers misbehave

  • Never lose your temper

  • Know that children will test your limits

  • Be strict at the beginning of a school year and move to general leniency if appropriate

Four steps to follow when g iving directions

Four Steps to Follow When Giving Directions

  • Make a polite statement, “Jerry, please sit down on the seat.”

  • If the student refuses to comply, state your expectations.“Jerry, you’re expected to sit down on the seat.”

  • If the student still refuses to comply, state the consequences. “Jerry, if you do not sit down on your seat, you will have to ride up here in the front seat.”

  • If there is no compliance at this point, ask the student to give an example of the consequence and the positive alternative and let the student make the decision. Break eye contact and allow them to make a choice. “Your choice is to either sit down or ride in the front seat. Which would you like to do?”

Interrupting behavior that is just beginning

Interrupting Behavior That is Just Beginning

  • “Are you supposed to be throwing paper on the bus?”

    (Get students to consider the consequences of their behavior.)

  • “What happens when you throw paper on the bus?”

    (Get students to focus on a change in their behavior.)

  • “So, what’s your plan?”

    (“I guess I’ll just ride to school and keep my papers in my backpack.”)

Interrupting suspicious behavior t hat just happened

Interrupting Suspicious Behavior That Just Happened

  • You are not sure if this person is guilty, but you are reasonably certain.

  • “What’s your plan?” (“What do you mean, what’s my plan?”)

  • “What’s your plan to stop writing on the seats on the bus?” (“I don’t need a plan.”)

  • “You’re right. But if you continue to write on the seats, you’ll have to follow my plan and ride up here or take time after school to clean the seats.”

Controlling group behavior

Controlling Group Behavior

  • When you deal with groups, talk to the person who gives you verbal resistance

  • Remain focused on the behavior and the person who gives you verbal resistance

  • Make a general polite directive

  • Explain the consequence of the behavior to that verbally resistive person

  • Give that person the negative and positive choice, and let him/her make the choice

Use statements like these to respond to a verbal attack

Use Statements Like These to Respond to a Verbal Attack:

  • “This is not how you get what you want from me.”

  • “This conversation is not helping. How can we solve the problem?”

  • “I’ll talk to you after you’ve calmed down. We can work this out later.”

  • “When you complain, I only hear how you feel. What do you want?”

  • “ ‘Everyone’s doing it!’ is an opinion. What do you really want?”

Broken record method

Broken-record Method

  • If a student is arguing with you or not complying with a direct command

  • Tell the student what you want

  • If the student argues, calmly repeat the command/direction up to 3 times

  • If the student refuses, use a consequence

Echoing statements method of stopping arguments

Echoing-Statements Method of Stopping Arguments

  • Repeat the statements of arguing pupils to diffuse conflict.

  • “John took my books.” “Mary says you took her books.”

  • “I did not.” “John says he didn’t take your books.”

  • “Yes, he did. He took my books.” “She says you took her books.”

  • Continue this until the book is returned to its owner.

Set discipline standards

Set Discipline Standards

  • Settle problems quickly

  • Settle serious problems when the bus is stopped

  • Seat troublemakers near you

  • Drive smoothly

  • Be firm, fair, impartial, consistent

  • Never lose your temper

  • Treat students as you would like your child treated

Work with school authorities

Work With School Authorities

  • Nurture a relationship with school authorities

  • Post a copy of school district rules

  • Follow the school district rules

  • You do not have the power to put a student off the bus – school officials do

Don t deal with on bus problems when loading and unloading

Don’t Deal With On-bus Problems When Loading and Unloading

  • Loading and unloading is dangerous

  • All the driver’s attention must be focused on what is happening around the bus

  • If a discipline problem occurs during loading or unloading, wait until loading or unloading is safely completed

Assertive discipline

Assertive Discipline

  • Non-assertive discipline

  • Hostile discipline

  • Assertive discipline

  • Assertive school bus drivers

Non assertive discipline

Non-assertive Discipline

  • Failure to state your needs

  • State your needs, but fail to back your statements up with action

Hostile discipline

Hostile Discipline

  • Stating your needs in negative ways

    • May violate students’ rights

    • May result in fear, causing aggression elsewhere

Assertive discipline1

Assertive Discipline

  • State your needs

  • Back those statements up with appropriate actions

  • Have a positive outlook

  • Have confidence in your abilities

  • Balance the rights of all parties involved

Assertive school bus drivers

Assertive School Bus Drivers

  • You are the boss of the bus

  • Say what you mean and mean what you say

  • Clearly and firmly tell students how to behave

  • Stay calm – normal tone of voice

  • Have a plan of action for misbehavior

  • Reward good behavior

Assertive discipline plan

Assertive Discipline Plan

  • Show the plan to your supervisor

  • Send the plan to parents

  • Introduce the plan to the students

  • Post the plan on the bus

  • Provide consequences immediately

  • Provide consequences consistently

  • Provide consequences in a calm manner

  • Praise students frequently

Positive rewards for good behavior

Positive Rewards for Good Behavior

  • Are the most important part of your assertive discipline plan

  • Should be:

    • Something the kids like

    • Be appropriate for age level

    • Never be taken away as punishment

  • Can be for an individual or group

Difficult issues

Difficult Issues

  • Gang activity

  • Bullying and harassment on the school bus

  • Suspected child abuse or neglect

Gang activity

Gang Activity

  • Gang activity can be found everywhere

  • Gangs are part of their communities

  • Benign forms of gang dress and behavior are imitated by non-gang children, making real gang members difficult to identify

  • Attempting to treat gang members differently will only lead to problems

  • Treat every student with respect

Bullying and harassment on the bus

Bullying and Harassment on the Bus

  • Lead by demonstration

  • Expect children to treat each other with respect

  • Assert your need for children to treat each other with respect

  • Treat everyone on the bus with the same respect

  • Document and report incidents

Suspected child abuse or neglect

Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect

  • Your School district has policies and procedures for reporting suspected cases of abuse or neglect

  • To report these abuses you need:

    • Name, address, age of child

    • Name, address of custodial parent/guardian

    • Nature and extent of injury

    • Nature and extent of neglect

    • Nature and extent of sexual abuse

    • Evidence of previous injuries

    • Pertinent information supporting reasonable suspicion

  • Law protects person reporting/testifying

Practice scenario

Practice Scenario

Mary, a 1st grader, won’t stay seated. She’s usually quiet in the morning, but in the afternoon, she’s wild. I think they give her sugar right before she gets on the bus. She never listens.

As a bus driver, what would you do?

Practice scenario1

Practice Scenario

  • Jim, an 8th grader, won’t stay seated. He is a typical middle school boy, and always challenges authority.

    As a bus driver, what would you do?

Practice scenario2

Practice Scenario

  • Teresa, a 12th grade cheerleader, is excited about tonight’s game, and won’t stay seated.

  • Normally, I don’t even know Teresa is on the bus. She’s always so well behaved.

    As a bus driver, what would you do?

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