Getting students with special needs on and off the bus

Parents and guardians should share tips with bus drivers
By: | Issue: October, 2019
September 13, 2019
DeKalb County School District in Georgia has set procedures for determining where buses pick up students with special needs.

Administrators at DeKalb County School District in Georgia determine bus stop locations based on safe access for children and drivers.

If a student’s condition prevents them from coming to the curb, then a bus monitor, nurse or aide must go to the home’s main entrance and help the child board the bus.

Dead-end streets, narrow roadways and inaccessible apartment complexes may require locating pickup and drop-off sites farther from home, says Lanetta G. Mills, special transportation operations manager.

Yet all stops for students with special needs should be right-side pickups so children don’t have to cross the street, Mills says.

Whenever possible, a child’s parent or guardian is encouraged to share tips with the bus driver that could help the child transition on and off the bus. For example, parents of a DeKalb student some years ago said the child was compliant as long as no one said the words “hurry” or “no.”

“When either of those words were used, the child would have a meltdown and fold onto the floor of the bus, making it very difficult to move him,” she says.

Read the full feature: How to ensure safe travels for students with special needs