The school bus can be a wild card experience with a lot of factors that could influence the well-being of your child, so it’s important to have all the pertinent information about all aspects of transport to ensure your child’s welfare.
There are many questions that you should ask to ensure that your child’s bus riding experience is as smooth and safe as possible.
1. When Will the Bus Arrive?
It’s important to know when the bus will reach your pick-up point, especially for the first day of school. You should expect to hear this information in advance, but occasionally that information is lost in the shuffle.
If you have not learned what time to expect the bus (and where), you should check on this in advance. Sometimes the transportation department is not informed that they need to stop for your child, so a quick phone call can set this right if that’s the situation.
2. What Is the Bus Route?
Buses often must weave up and down a variety of side streets during their route and sometimes have a significant deviation from what seems like a fairly straight path to the school.
Have a map of the path and estimated times when the bus typically arrives at those locations in case there is ever a special circumstance or a delay. This will not only allow you to have a rough idea of where your child is at a given time, but you also can determine how long it takes for the bus to get to school and back to your house.
3. What Type of Supervision Can I Expect During the Ride?
In a typical situation, there is only the bus driver, who will have his hands full safely operating the vehicle. That means there are a lot of things that can happen on the bus that may escape his or her notice.
School buses are one of the primary locations where bullying can occur. Unfortunately, children are often reticent to discuss situations that cause them stress or unpleasant experiences.
It’s important to communicate with your child about the ride to determine if there are any topics you need to address with the school for your child’s safety, especially if your child’s demeanor changes after the bus ride home.
You can also communicate with the child’s homeroom teacher, to determine what your child’s mood is upon arriving and whether it has changed since he or she climbed aboard the bus.
If you suspect something is happening on the bus, communicate with school officials. Nowadays, most buses are equipped with video surveillance, so it may be possible to review that footage to determine whether something is happening.
4. Who Do I Contact If a Situation Arises?
You should have access to a phone number in your preliminary notification that arrives to inform you about transportation. If you do not have it, you should contact the school and find out which department you need to contact.
It’s also important to receive an emergency contact number in case it is needed or for situations when the bus is late, your child is not going to be riding or some other special circumstance.
5. Who Are My Child’s Friends and Classmates?
It’s a good idea to become familiar with which friends or classmates ride the bus with your child or even which buses they do ride. Your child will probably have some knowledge, even if they do not ride his or her bus.
This is important because friends may often speak up about issues involving your child when they themselves will not. Also, having friends with your child can lower the risk of these situations happening in the first place.
Also, it gives you another contact to someone nearby who may be able to get in touch with your child for you if you are unable to reach them for one reason or another.
Sometimes your child’s bus is overcrowded and having access to someone who rides a different route can provide you information that can possibly be useful in making a transition if there are any problems or if the current bus is causing your child anxiety.
6. Where Do Students Go When the Bus Reaches School?
Hopefully, they go straight to their classrooms, but in many cases, they have a pad or waiting area, whether a cafeteria or front area, where they congregate until it is time for school.
While there will typically be some sort of supervision during this time, a teacher or other aide may not arrive immediately, and this is another situation where your child could suffer bullying or another mistreatment.
Make sure you know where your child is supposed to go so you can remain informed; it is also helpful in case you need to bring something to the child or contact them for some other reason.
7.When Does the Bus Leave and What’s the Route?
Just like with the trip to the school, the trip back can be just as important, especially if your child is riding a different bus with different people. That provides a whole new set of opportunities for problems to arise.
Make sure you know what time school lets out and what time the buses leave. This can be important if your child is late or did not board the bus.
Knowing the route is important to have that general idea of where your child is, especially if the buses are running late.
8. What Time Does the Bus Arrive at My Home?
Knowing when your child will arrive home is important for many reasons, but it will also let you know if the bus is late or if for some reason, your child did not get off the bus (or on it).
Having means to contact your child is important in situations such as this, to make sure your child is safe and accounted for.
If you have other children that you must pick up or a job in which timing is crucial during this period, knowing the bus arrival time can be crucial in determining your plans and availability.
9. Is The Bus the Best Option?
Many children ride the bus every day without incident. Some of them even enjoy spending time with their friends and socializing. In most cases, there’s not anything to worry about as children have been riding buses for ages.
However, if your child is showing signs that he or she is experiencing anxiety or depression, investigate. It may be related to the bus ride or other school issues.
If so, you may be able to do something to influence the situation or if you have another option available, you may be able to change the mode of transportation to something more suitable for your child’s welfare.
Ultimately, only you can make the decision as to what is best for your child based on the circumstances and the options available to you.
School Bus Transportation Resources