Student management on school buses

A school bus driver must be able to maintain acceptable levels of student behavior on his/her bus to avoid being distracted from the primary task of driving. If the driver is distracted by and/or loses control of the students, the driver's ability to control the bus may be seriously impaired. The following are suggestions to help the school bus driver maintain an acceptable level of student behavior.

General attitude and approach

  • Set a good example. Act the part of a person in a responsible position who follows the rules.
  • Be friendly, but not familiar, to the students. Your name is Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms.___. Say hello when they get on the bus. Smile.
  • Clearly establish your expectations — what the rules are and the reasons they exist. Try to make students feel that they have a responsibility in ensuring group safety.
  • Give commands that stimulate an action: "Do this" instead of "Do not do that." Have a reason for what you ask a student to do and give the reason.
  • Be consistent. Do not be lax one day and tough the next. Do not hold grudges, and do not take things personally. If you make a mistake, admit it.
  • Treat all students equally. Do not show favorites. Show respect. Be courteous and not sarcastic.
  • Always control your temper and watch your tone of voice and language. Remember your sense of humor. Sometimes it pays not to hear things.
  • Compliment students on positive behavior. Listen to the students — their suggestions, their complaints, and their concerns.


  • Save discipline for safety-related behavior. Do not "nitpick."
  • Do not get drawn into an argument with a student.
  • Do not threaten to do something you cannot do. Do not threaten something and then NOT do it.
  • Do not let a situation get out of hand.

When there is a problem

  • Stop the bus. Park in a safe location off the road, perhaps a parking lot or a driveway.
  • Secure the bus. Take the ignition key with you if you leave your seat.
  • Stand up and speak to the offender or offenders. Speak in a courteous manner with a firm voice. Remind the offender of the behavior expected. Do not show anger, but show that you are serious.
  • NEVER put a student off the bus except at school or at his/her designated school bus stop.
  • If you feel that the offense is serious enough, that you cannot safely drive the bus, call for a school administrator or a parent to come to remove the student.
  • Follow your school district's procedures for further discipline or refusal of rights to ride the bus.

Copyright ©2014, ISO Services, Inc.

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. The Hanover Insurance Company and its affiliates and subsidiaries ("The Hanover") specifically disclaim any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with The Hanover. By providing this information to you, The Hanover does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you. The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

LC FEB 2019 2016-462
171-10032 (1/17)