32 answers

Bus Problems

My son is 5 years old and just started riding the bus for the first time in December. He loves it and we are just two miles from the school, so he is last on and first off, but there are a few kids that have brought to my attention that a lot of kids are picking on him because he is little and hit him on a daily basis trying to make him cry. I realize kids can be cruel but it is getting out of hand. I don't want him to think he is being punished by taking him off the bus but I am unsure how to get the bus driver the help he needs to regain control of the bus. He tries very hard.

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So What Happened?™

I ended up taking my son off the bus. I spoke with his teacher and her and I both noticed it was taking a toll on his behavior at home and at school. She of course had no idea what was going on and was grateful to find out the situation which helped explain some of my son's behavior. In the end the circle of blame between the school and transportation was one I wanted off of! My son isn't going to wait for them to figure this out.

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As a bus driver, I do not tolerate that behavior. Unfortunately, sometimes the child being pick on does not tell me what's going on, so unless I catch it, the parent is the one to bring it to my attention. Even though I'm driving, I am aware of what's going on. But, the more crowded the bus, the more noise and commotion there is to drown out any bullying. I would talk to the bus driver and see what his or her response is before taking him off the bus permenantly.

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I hate to tell all of you this... but when my oldest started school, I had the same problem. Back then, he was my first and only child. I was raising him to be "nice". I taught him that fighting was not acceptable in any way, shape or form. Boy oh boy did I sit up some nights and regret those 5 years of guidance. Those boys on the bus picked on him because they knew he was peaceful and nice. When the bus system did nothing about it and the school system did nothing..

I told him.. if they push you again or if they make you feel scared, punch one of them. I told him that he needed to hit one of them ONCE and they would all back off. He couldn't do it. Week after week he would get off the bus crying. I wanted and wished that I could BE him for one day and make all of those kids stop hurting my son.

Finally, one day...the school called ME! My son had laid a punch on one of the boys on the bus and they needed ME to come in for a conference with the other parent!! My timid, shy son hits someone and THEN they do something?? Wow!

So, we had the conference. The principal knew how non violent my son was (is). He said that he didn't even want to have this conference because he knew what had been going on. The parent of the bully was just as much of a bully (at first).

She started yelling at me. In the most monotone, flat voice I could muster, I said "Your son has been bullying my son for three months. He had it coming." She looked shocked. Her child started crying. She asked him a few questions and he finally admitted it.

He had been lying. apparently when he had been questioned in the past about bullying my child, he said that he was NOT bullying him. When my son was asked if he punched the kid, he admitted it. Yes, another value we hold dear is truth, even if it's uncomfortable for you. So, because they took the other kids word for it for those three months, he had never gotten in trouble. This is why it had taken the admin so long to DO something.

One good thing did come of it. The other kids finally saw that my son *might* get up and hit them (which to this day, he tells me was the worst feeling in the world, he felt bad the minute he did it). He has had no other fights because of it due to his ability to carry himself, knowing that he can and will if needed. It's 12 years later and I am sure things are a bit different, but still. A karate class here or there probably would have the same result. It all boils down to your nice child having some courage inside. Just in the way he carries himself.

I've raised my younger child much different. With the same values and he knows the rules. Same as his brother.. no hitting no fighting, treat people the way you would like to be treated. But with an amendment: You can hit someone if they hit you first. My youngest has never come home from a fight. He's never come home with dirt all over him from being pushed into the grass at the bus stop. It's because he has that inner confidence and he carries himself that way. My older child stopped being picked on and he has plenty of friends too. That one punch changed his life.

Kids are cruel, but even the bullies are still just kids and just as scared as the children they are picking on.

Good luck!

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Bullying is a tough issue, especially when this is your little guy's FIRST experience with independence in this way. This must stop immediately, and while it is great that you are sensitive to the efforts of the bus driver, it is his BOSS that needs to intervene and both help him take back control and get him training (AND perhaps ride with him for a while). This is not a case of 'telling' on the driver - this kind of bullying is now against the law and in violation of school policy (it is the hitTERS who might have to get off the bus!)

In the meantime - letting your son know that he has done nothing wrong and that you may have to get him off the bus for a while to keep him safe can help him know that adults will take care of him. What if YOU rode with him a few times? You might want to get more info- www.thechildtoday.com is the website of a counselor/educator who has done marvelous work regarding bullying and how to address it; "The Social Inclusion Approach." There are some articles on the website which are interesting, and he has CD's which have helped me and my son very much with this issue. There is also a book called, "THe Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander" by Barbara Coloroso, which is very interesting and generally helpful. (I found Kim Payne's work to be far more immediately applicable to my younger son, and helped me to frame the issue is a thoughtful and caring way.) Both of these are available at Indigo Forest, The Holistic Family Center in Ann Arbor.

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I'm not sure where you live or if this is even a possibility but the bus company I used to work for here in Kansas keeps the videos of what happens on the bus for about 2 weeks after they are made before taping over them. You as a parent should be able to call the bus company or transportation department and request to view the video tapes to see what's happening on the bus. The school principal also can request to see the video to get to the bottom of what's going on and the driver SHOULD BE writting up the kids that are bullying your son on displinary forms for the school to handle the problem.

Bullying has always been a problem in schools and has just started being taken seriously in the last few years because of the school shootings that have happened across the country. My children's school has a zero tolerance policy for bullying. Does it stop it from happening? No, but it makes it easier for us as parents to hold the school accountable for doing something about it when it happens to one of our children.

I hope you are able to find out which kids are doing the bullying and make them accountable for what they are doing to your little boy. Bullying really effects children's self esteem more than we know.


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Sorry to hear this! I don't really know what the solution to this problem is but have your talked to the bus driver yet? He has to have some control over what goes on with the kids on the bus and should take a little more action to address the situation. If that hasn't gotten you any where maybe talk to the principal of the school he goes to and see if they have any suggestions or can address this with the kids that are bullying your son. How is your son dealing with this situation? Does he seem scared or upset or doesn't want to ride the bus? I would really go with what your son is telling you and his reaction to the situation and take it from there. It might not be a bad thing to take him to and from school if it's that bad. I wish you lots of luck! Don't give up!

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As a school bus driver myself, I can understand your concerns. I don't know what town you live in but here in Shelton, we have our kindergarteners sit in the front behind the driver so they feel secure. We also have a process for writting up children who cause problems on the bus. That write up goes to the principal of the school and the board of education. They are taken very seriously and if the problem persists the problem child will be suspended from the bus. If there is that much of a problem on your bus,it seems to me that the driver needs a monitor or aide. You must contact the board of ed and the bus company and bring this problem to their attention. Your child deserves the same respect as all the other children on the bus. Please let me know what happens.

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I was sad to read this post. I'm sorry your child has a bully on the bus. Did you mention it to the bus driver? Can your child sit behind the driver instead of near the bulling kids?

Personally, I would take my child off the bus before it gets worse. I would tell my child I think it's time I take you to and from school for awhile and let it go from there.

Thank you for being a concerned parent, we need more out there.
I'm sure the bulling parents don't know or don't care :(

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I just caught your post for the first time. It's one thing to have your child removed from the bus....but it may not be the end of the problem if the bullies are in the same school...maybe in the same class as your son. (((and if not in his class this year, maybe they will be next year.))) I think it's best to go after the bullies to stop them altogether from doing this to him again or to other children. Report it to the police, the head of the school, the head of the bus company, and if you can call their parents to let them know, do so. You might even what to call your local newspaper to do the story in their paper but first call a lawyer and see what your son's rights are. These bullies and their parents need to be taught a lesson.

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Problem is: One bus driver that needs to be concentrating on driving - and no responsible adult supervising the children.

My nephew had same issue when he was a preteen and finally stop riding the bus. I myself rode the bus through my school years and saw so many things.

If he can be off the bus - that is wonderful. My children do not ride the bus and I am so thankful. It is a wonderful free way for kids to get a good education but it can be a dangerous place too - have you seen the news?

If you get a chance, please take the time to discuss positively the situation with the school and the bus driver of so it does not get out of hand with someone else.
Sorry this happened to your child but good for you for keeping an ear out and listening to your child!

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Hi A.,
That is so sad:( Poor little guy. Kids can be cruel. I wish that more parents would teach their children the right way to treat others.
If I was in your situation I guess I would find out which kids were picking on him and contact their parents. If that doesn't work I would call the police and have them come and talk to the kids especially since their getting physical with your son. (that might scare them enough to not do it again).
My son was having problems with an older bully at school. He told me he was going to confront the bully and of course I was a nervous wreck. He did, and hasn't had a problem since ( I also contacted the teachers to let them know what was going on). For some reason kids feed of from other children's fear. You should teach your son how to stand up for himself:) Hope this helps. Good luck!

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As a bus driver, I do not tolerate that behavior. Unfortunately, sometimes the child being pick on does not tell me what's going on, so unless I catch it, the parent is the one to bring it to my attention. Even though I'm driving, I am aware of what's going on. But, the more crowded the bus, the more noise and commotion there is to drown out any bullying. I would talk to the bus driver and see what his or her response is before taking him off the bus permenantly.

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I am an educator and have done tons of research on this issue. I understand the problem clearly. Taking him off the bus is only going to be temporary fix. For next school year, you need to have a plan with the school to how they will be dealing with bullying.

What is the school doing to teach to children how to behave on the bus? Second, what will the doing about training all the kids (including yours) socially on how to interact with one another in these situations? Having a zero tolerance policy does not solve the deeper issues socically. The social workers and counselors at school need to be involved in order to help with social skills training. I will include an intervention for you to teach you son on how to handle these situations. By the way, my daughter was bullied as well this past year. Most bullying happens in common areas of the school and on busses because of the lack of adult supervision (schools don't like change and often become resistant at first be persistant so, I reccommend that a school official take the bus or make sure there is an adult on the bus besides the one that is only supposed to be driving to mantain safety). It is the school's responsiblility to make sure your child is safe to an from school becasue they are acting as parent. The bus driver has to keep his eyse on the road and nothing else so, if they are expecting the bus driver to manage bus behaviors that is where I would begin. The teacher should not be the only one involved. I would hold a meeting with the administration before school starts and develop a plan. Ask: how will they teach the children proper bus behaviour? Will they teach the children bullying how to communicate better with others? How will they teach your child how to address a bully? Will they have bus supervision? If not why? How will they involve the social worker when their is an issues with negative social interactions on the bus?

Taking your child off the bus doesn't solve the deeper social issue of bullying on their bus. Most bullies have been bullied themselves. Here are some suggestions on training your child for a bully: 1. Role play the situation with puppets(great at this age) and/or you do address how the child is feeling. 2. Practice how your child will respond to the bullies, I will tell them to leave me alone, I will ignore them, I will move my seat, I will tell the bus driver (make sure there is a plan for this), I will tell my bully how I feel when they....using I feel statements (may take a few times). I would include this as part of the plan with your school administration. Does your school have PBIS ask because all schools will be and this is the system school will have in place to address behavior plans. I hope this is helpful. If you have any other questions let me know.

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I'm sorry to hear about your little man getting bullied. I have a special needs son who is 12 and he, like your son loves to ride the bus so I agreed to let him..he rode the regular school bus and by 10 days in we had older kids at the back of the bus picking on him...I called the bus driver's boss and explained the situation....my son was given an assigned seat a few rows down from the driver and we haven't had a problem since. We are in Northwest ISD school system...if the driver isn't responsive to your problem perhaps their boss will be.
You're in a tough spot as a parent....on one hand you have to protect your child...but on the other do you take away something he enjoys. Good luck!


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By removing you son from the bus, you may be teaching him avoidance, which can lead to (surrender-betray) co-dependency or (surrender-sabotage) passive-aggressiveness, depending on how this will manifest.

Please read (or listen to) Taking the War Out of Our Words: The Art of Powerful Non-Defensive Communication by Sharon Ellison. This book has an example of how a young girl dealt with that very issue (harassment on bus) and how it was effectively handled BY THE GIRL BEING HARASSED and it NEVER happened to her again.

(I have attended one of Sharon Ellison's seminars, and the communication techniques are FANTASTIC! You can check her out at www.pndc.com. Examples of diffusing situations can be found here: http://www.pndc.com/stories/youth.php)

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I still think you need to contact the school board and so forth as Megan said. Just taking your child off only solves your problem but does not keep them from doing it to others. We have a responsibility to not just our own children but society as well. My neighbor is a pastor and had a great fear of the bus. They never let their daughter ride the bus until my granddaughter was and they sit together. He had a long talk with the school. For years he has driven the girls in the mornings. At first three of us shared then later I just could not do it and now I am working from 5:45 am. every day. So impossible. Next year our girls will be going to different schools. Mine will have to walk. They have not done a thing yet to make the roads safe for walking. No sidewalks or anything and the traffic is huge there. Only a couple months to go before school and brand new school. I also talked to a gal that has a day care near where the girls used to go to school and she was walking her day care kids and someone threw a bottle from the bus as it was leaving. There was a huge issue there.From what I am told the language on busses is really bad with the older kids. G. W

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I just now read this, and I am appauled you had to resort to removing your son from the bus. I advocate for families, who are in my program, alot in the school system. Transportation (bus system) is the most ridiculous organization there is. They don't care and won't fix it until you end up super mad and having to resort to serious measures. I know he's young but bullying is against the law and that's exactly what their doing. If I were you I would get some advice from the legal standpoint, for a couple of reasons. 1) because your son has rights and 2) just beause your son is gone doesn't mean those bullies aren't going to find someone else to pick on and someones going to get hurt. YOu'd be amazed what goes on on public buses and public schools these days and the lack of support the parents get from the very people who we are trusting to keep our babies safe while their on the bus and at school. I am sorry you are going through this, as a mother I am sure it's devestating.

My daughter is in her 30's now, but when we moved to Calif. & she had to ride the bus 5 miles, it was a real problem. The kids already had been given seat assignments by the time she enrolled. The bus was crowded & some were 3 to a seat. Since she was never given a seat assignment, all the kids would push her out of the seat. She also had very long blond hair which they put gum in. I made a couple of trips to the principals office to speak on this issue. My daughter was new to the school and very shy to top if off. It became traumatic for her to ride the bus. One day she just decided to walk home if I could not pick her up.

The principal was at the bus stop early in the morning and rode the bus to school. He also spoke to the students on the bus. It seems after he took that action, the problem eased up and she would ride the bus.

Get the principal to ride the bus and give his speech to them. See if that may help. I know it is an awful feeling when other kids are mistreating your child and making them miserable.

Just curious...Is there a camera on the bus? I know whenever there's any kind of problems on our buses, the people at the bus garage, the pricipal and vice principal at the school watch the video thats on the bus...more times than not, the incident is found and consequences are then taken...why should the innocent child be the one that is taken off the bus? kids can be cruel, no doubt, and they should have to pay for the cruelty they cause to others..

A. ifeel for you,and your 5year old.iwould not like or tolerate anyone to bully my son or daughter.these kids now days are not taught to respect one another, they allowe them to fight with out punisment. i tell you if i had control of a bus like the one your son is riding, i would not tolerat that. i would be a drill sargeant. my advice to you take your son off the bus. nothing will get resolve from this. start a car pool with other parents.

if you want your child to contine on the bus. Maybe have an ard meeting, tell them your usage, see if they can come with better solutions!! Or ask that your child to ride special ed u bus , because your child now has emotional issue riding the bus. Or just take him or her to school talk about his different things and maybe pray together so that your child can have a good and blessed day. Maybe ask for favor and wisdom etc for your child . Hope your child has a better school year!! M. f

If the children on the bus are hitting your son, the school needs to get involved. A teacher or administrator can ride the bus, but the first step should be talking to the bus driver.

My children are in Pasco County and the bus drivers have been able to control the actions on the bus. The kids all have assigned seats. When my daughter has had issues with the other children on the bus, the bus driver has accommodated her by allowing her to sit with a friend, etc.

I would have the kids that are telling you this identify the students that are doing the bullying. Ask your son if it is true, and then talk to the principal about it.

Students can get bus referrals and get removed from the bus if they are not following the rules on the bus.

I'm glad you took your child off of the bus - I had trouble with bullies when I tried the schoolbus as a child, and I'm 41 now. Bullies are terrible, and there will ALWAYS be bullies, until the entire educational system is overhauled. IN the meantime, you look out for your child FIRST, then try to address the larger problem.

HI A., I guess I missed this request when you posted it...I am a school bus driver and let me tell you there is alot of things that can go on while the kids are on the bus. There are things that I have missed. My kindergarten and first grade students sit in the front. The driver can hear and see more things up there. If there is a problem then depending on the situation I either deal with the child myself by assigning them a "special seat" or take it to the principal and they will either talk to the whole bus. If I know who the child is that is causing the problem I also give them a bus write up, this is a good thing to have, the principal gets involved and there is a punishment given. If I feel that I wanted something to happen, (bus suspension, assigned seat, etc.) I tell the principal prior to them speaking with the child. Usually if the principal gets on the bus they wil know already who the troublemaker is, they just seem to have that kind of rep. When my kids get on and off the bus I speak to them and I can usually tell when there is something wrong that they need to talk to someone about, especially the little ones, but I do not let them just go to school without taking them in to the office or talking to the teacher that meets the bus. They will then follow up with the childs teacher. My district is a good one and my children have been riding the bus since day 1, even before I drove a bus. They are now in 11, 9 and 7th grades. Good luck! I think that if your child makes a friend that will ride the bus as lond as they do it will be better as they will have a friend with them.

I am glad that you stepped in to stop this early, but it is really a bandaid where stiches need to be applied. I used to work as a secretary for school transportation and feel this needs to be addressed with them. I would strongly encourage you to call and ask to speak with the transportation supervisor (there should be a number on the school website or in the phone book). You need to explain the details. I feel very strongly about this, because I am certain your son is not the only one being bullied and it is not acceptable for this behavior to be going on during the bus ride. I do understand that drivers have a huge responsibility, but their job also entails them keeping the students safe and in order while they transport them.
Sorry I did not get this to you sooner!
Have a blessed day!

Hellow A.,
I understand what you're dealing with. I had a problem with my son the bus. I called the school and they watched the tape and had the student taking off the bus for the rest of the school year. It was sad because the kid live in the same complex as we do & just days before he helped me take bags out of my car as I returned from the supermarket (crazy right). Please contact the school I'm sure they have a way of checking into this. I the problem continues your child is going to have problems. I dealing with that now. My son is afraid to even talk to other children, it's like he hides himself so kids want see him. It's summer time and my son wears a hood over his head. Good luck!!

A great thing to do is to talk to that driver's supervisor. If it's a public school bus, those drivers are accountable for everything that happens on the bus. I believe you are right to take him off the bus, at least until the problem is resolved, because a 5-year-old shouldn't be expected to fend off older bullies! You might have to do a lot of calling around in order to find out who is in charge, but something needs to be done in order to stop the bullying. If they're picking on your son, they will also pick on anyone else who is younger, smaller, weaker, etc. The bullies ought to be kicked off the bus instead of your son; if the driver isn't watching out for the safety of all the children, he or she needs to shape up or get another job.

The majority said it best- You have to follow through so this doesn't happen to others. I liked the idea of the young ones sitting by the driver. Buses have always been hell holes because of just this reason. And the bullying has always gone on in schools. I am 63, and it was terrible then too, kids just didn't let their parents know. I took my middle school son off of the bus, and drove him for awhile. I really feel for you and him.

A., you did the very right thing. Children at that age are to young to be on the bus by their own. Many of todays children are under pressure to perform in a certain way. They let their frustration out on others. Your child still needs to be protected by you. B.

I don't think you should take your child off the bus. The principal should ride the bus with him for a week. (That is what our principal does if there is a problem). If it continues then the bullies are no longer allowed to ride the bus. Your son is being punished for being the victim....empower him and show him bullies have consequences for their actions.

You did a good thing by interviening early. I too stopped riding the bus due to all the bullying. It wouldn't have been so bad if it was just one person doing the bullying, but it really seemed like the whole bus did it. To make matters worse, the bus driver used to miss my stop on the way home. I tried to ride the bus again in middle school, but the bullying started again. Forget it, no more bus riding. A bus ride is nothing, but a torture chamber for the innocent. I didn't ride the bus for the rest of my school years, including high school and never became passive/agressive or thought I was missing anything. The kids are much worse on the bus than they are in school, because it's easier to get away with things. Bullying can really give kids a low self-esteem.

CAll the state school superintendent and explain what is going on!

This happend to my daughter her second yaer riding the bus... I talked to the bus driver and she handled it. The incident happend on a day there was a sub-driver but the regular driver has no tolerance for bullying. My daughter no longer rides the bus due to bus fees. But she continued that year till the end of the school year. I agree that you should bring the incident to the attention of the driver then the school and make an issue of this. The bullies are getting away with their behaivor and not being dealt with. I have to wonder how many other kids are being picked on. Don't end tis with taking your son off the bus... go back and talk with the driver and the school. Make sure that the kids are being accountable for their actions.

I am sorry your son had to go through that too, but children can be mean. My oldest son had one girl who would constantly call him names and made him hate the bus ride back from kindergarten so ended up driving him every day and everything worked out in school then. The driver is too busy to handle this and if there is only one child who decides he is a good target, it can make things miserable for him. I didn't feel that he should have to put up with that when trying to adjust to school.
I hope everything will work out for your son now.

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