School Bus Rules
The rules presented here are an excerpt from the current Code of Student Conduct.
School Bus Rules The District School Board of Pasco County provides free transportation to and from school for students who live more than two miles away from school. Students will be assigned one bus stop. Parents/guardians are responsible for their child(ren) at the bus stop. Once the bus arrives at the stop, and only at that time, does the student become the responsibility of the District School Board of Pasco County. Such responsibility shall end when the student is delivered to the regular bus stop and the bus has departed, at the close of the school day. Each student using that transportation must abide by the rules, which are established to ensure the safety of all passengers.
Parents are not allowed to board any school bus or school sponsored transportation unless for a legitimate reason and with the permission of the driver. Any violations of this directive will be considered trespassing and will be subject to applicable criminal charges and penalties.
When riding, waiting for the bus at designated bus stops, loading or unloading, students must follow the Student Code of Conduct. Bus drivers will report students who violate the Student Code of Conduct and break school bus rules to the school administration for appropriate disciplinary action. Administrators shall investigate and issue discipline accordingly. Behavior not directly observed at bus stops, but reported and confirmed by witnesses, may be acted upon.
Violations of the Student Code of Conduct shall result in disciplinary action, suspension of riding privileges, recommended bus expulsion and may result in referral to law enforcement.
Teachers who chaperone bus trips will have the same authority and responsibilities as they have in the classrooms.
Parent conferences are not permitted while the bus is en-route or stopped at a bus stop. Any conference that the parents wish to have with the bus driver must be scheduled with the school’s administration.
The following bus rules will be obeyed:
- The bus driver is in full authority and must be obeyed.
- Students are required to obey driver’s hand signals when crossing the road.
- Students are required to wear safety restraints, when they are available on the bus.
- General school rules will apply on the bus, although quiet talking is permitted.
- Students will be at the bus stop five minutes prior to scheduled time.
- Students will stand off the roadway while waiting for the bus.
- Students will board and leave the bus at their assigned bus stops unless other arrangements are made by written request of the parent and signed by the principal or designee.
- Students will not distract the bus driver.
- Students will sit properly and remain seated while the bus is in motion.
- Students will not throw or project anything inside or out of the bus.
- Students will not litter, mark, deface, or damage any part of the bus.
- Students will sit in any seat assigned to them.
- Students will not eat, drink, or smoke on the bus.
- The emergency exit will be used only in cases of emergency.
- No animals (dead or alive), glass or glass containers, sharp objects, ball bats, cutting instruments, batons, drumsticks, or other objects that could become dangerous projectiles during a sudden stop or accident will be allowed on the bus without prior permission of the driver.
- Large objects (larger than students can safely hold in their laps), including band instruments, which interfere with seating and safety of others, will not be permitted on the bus without prior permission of the driver.
- Students will not exit the rear emergency door of the school bus, other than in an emergency situation as determined by the bus driver.
- Students will not engage in behaviors that could negatively impact the safety of those on board the bus.
- The above rules will also apply on extracurricular and athletic trips.
The following procedural interventions are recommended when appropriate:
- First offense: Parent contact and disciplinary action as decided by principal or designee.
- Second offense: 3-day bus suspension.
- Third offense: 5-day bus suspension.
- Fourth offense: 10-day bus suspension
- At the fourth referral, there will be a review of the student’s behavioral and intervention history, which will culminate in the development of an intervention plan for the student. The parents will be invited to participate in this review.
- Fifth offense: Recommendation of bus expulsion.
The following may result in a recommendation for bus expulsion at any time:
- Exiting the rear emergency door.
- Any action that endangers the safety of anyone on or around the bus.
- Continuous disruptive behavior.
- Severity of the offense, extenuating circumstances, and the attitude of the student and parent will be considered by school administration and may be discussed with the Director of Transportation before a final determination is made.
A representative from transportation should be invited to all bus suspension appeals detailed below.
School Level Appeal Process for Bus Suspensions
- If a student or parent/guardian believes a proposed disciplinary action is unfair or that the allegations are unfounded, the student or parent may request a formal appeal. The formal appeal may be initiated verbally or in writing and presented to the principal within three (3) school days of the discipline decision. Verbal requests for appeals must be followed up in writing. The written appeal should:
- Briefly state the facts involved;
- State a proposed solution to the problem;
- Be copied to the school staff member(s) involved.
- The bus suspension may be lifted at the principal’s discretion until the matter is resolved.
- Requests for formal appeals must be received within three (3) days of being notified of the proposed bus suspension. If not appealed within that time frame, the discipline will be implemented and the parent/guardian will have no further right to appeal.
- The principal or designee will review the grievance and meet with the student and parent or guardian for the appeal. During the appeal, the student has the right to question the allegations against him or her, provide written statements from witnesses, and respond to any written witness statements (in which the names any student witnesses are redacted and held confidential).
- Parent/guardian should be provided with redacted copies of witness statements, social media printouts and other evidence upon request. A parent/guardian may request copies of videotape surveillance; however, they will be responsible for the cost associated with redacting the video thereby protecting student confidentiality.
- For bus suspensions of 1 to 5 days, the principal’s decision regarding the appeal shall be final. In the case of 6 to 10 days of bus suspension, the principal’s decision may be further appealed to the Superintendent or designee.
- The person hearing the case cannot have been a witness to, have assigned the original consequence or have been otherwise involved in the incident that resulted in the proposed discipline.
District Level Discipline Appeals for Six or More Days of Bus Suspension
In cases of bus suspension for six (6) or more days, the principal’s decision may be further appealed to the Superintendent or designee. The Superintendent or designee may uphold, reverse, or modify the suspension. The following process is used:
- Prior to any district level appeal of bus suspension, the matter must FIRST be heard at the school level (except when the bus suspension is accompanied by a recommendation for expulsion).
- If the principal upholds the recommended suspension. The parent/guardian or student may request an appeal hearing from the Superintendent or designee.
- This request must occur within three (3) school days after the school level appeal. The request for an appeal hearing may be initiated in writing or verbally. Verbal requests must, however, be followed up in writing.
- The Superintendent level appeal will be scheduled at the District School Board of Pasco County office in Land O’Lakes.
- If the request for an appeal is not received within three (3) school days, the school will then proceed with the recommended proposed suspension, and student or parents/guardians will not have any further opportunity to appeal the matter.
- The student will resume bus transportation pending the District Level OSS Appeal.
- The Superintendent or designee may only ban a student from campus during formal appeal if the student’s presence poses an imminent threat of danger or risk of a major campus disruption as defined elsewhere in this document. In such cases, the appeal shall be expedited.
- Suspension of extracurricular activities will remain in effect during the appeal process.
- The decision of the Superintendent’s designee is final on an OSS appeal.
At the District Level Discipline Appeal Hearing for Six or More Days of Bus Suspension
- The participants at the hearing will be limited to those with a relevant interest in the matter at hand, as determined by the Superintendent or designee. (We cannot limit attendance in cases of ESE or 504 students per state statute.)
- Only the evidence presented at the hearing will be used to make a decision. No information may be provided to the Superintendent or designee outside of the hearing.
- The person hearing the case cannot have been a witness to, have assigned the original consequence or have been otherwise involved in the incident that resulted in the proposed discipline or testify in the hearing.