Promoting Good School Bus Behavior

My husband is an assistant principal and spends much time dealing with discipline problems. He comments that some days his morning is consumed with troubles on the bus. Bus drivers call or stop by his office to report students who misbehave. My school also has numerous complaints about children on the bus. Some children are even suspended from riding the bus to school for three or five days. One bus driver from New Jersey has solved her problems herself. She has excellent advice for any bus driver or parent of a ‘bus trouble child’.

Lois Yukna, a New Jersey bus driver, has a positive attitude. Each morning her students are greeted with a cheerful “good morning”. She states that some students reply from the first day and others begin to reply later in the school year. Creating a positive relationship with the children is very important.

Yukna states her bus rules and lets students know that misbehaving is not allowed on her bus. She rarely has trouble from high school students. However, younger students are sometimes a challenge. She has a plan for the children that are highly disruptive. These children become helpers. She assigns each difficult child a specific job. The jobs include helping small children, making sure no one left belongings on the bus, and closing windows. She also educates the children on what to do if an emergency occurs and she cannot communicate. Yukna repeatedly tells the children how important their jobs are. The students are usually so preoccupied with their duties that they do not have time to cause trouble. If the students do get into trouble, they lose their positions and someone else gets their job. Of course, the children do not want this to happen.

Unlike most bus drivers that I am acquainted with, Yukna has made it her responsibility to ensure that the children behave. Many drivers feel that it is only their job to drive. They leave behavior up to the school. I feel that Yukna’s method of giving difficult children a positive role in life can work in almost any environment, including the classroom and at home.

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