Is This Typical School Bus Procedure?

Updated on September 01, 2013
H.H. asks from Newburgh, NY
26 answers

This is the first year my children ride the bus. So far it’s been fine but today my 6 yo son got off visible upset, and of course my 10 yo daughter was completely oblivious to the situation. Apparently the bus driver declared “quiet bus” which I guess means absolutely no talking for the entire bus ride. My kids are on the bus for @ 30 mins. A 6th grader was appointed bus monitor and would “write up” the kids who talked. Supposedly the bus driver reports these kids to the principal and they get detention for it? Can this be possible? Are 5 & 6 year old children expected to sit still and quiet on a 30 min bus ride every day? My daughter did say her regular bus driver declares “quiet bus” all the time.
When the appointed monitor got off the bus he passed the baton to a 5th grade boy who lives on my street. I know for a fact he is a troublemaker (from his own mother) and he often picks on my son. The boy only threatened to write up my son who swears he wasn’t talking. I really wouldn’t be upset at all if my son got in trouble for talking on the bus (and I explained that to him) but he can’t stand the thought of getting in trouble and was especially worried about going to the principal’s office. Is this typical bus behavior? Are children really expected to be quiet the entire bus ride? Do bus drivers really appoint monitors? And can the monitor just pick any kid he wants to replace him? Will the bus driver actually call the school and report children for talking? I plan on calling the bus company on Monday just to see if any of this is accurate but I was curious to know how other bus companies run.

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answers from Dallas on

My daughter has been riding the bus for 4 years and no, they don't do this. The kids are expected to behave (as with anywhere) but not silent.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Honestly, I think a bus with *some* rules sounds great. School buses are often unregulated spaces where there's all kinds of bullying, and kids really get terrorized. But this sounds like too much of a good thing, and some of a flat-out bad thing. It could be okay, conceivably, to have fifth-and sixth graders as monitors, but they need to be taught that authority comes with responsibility.

I do recommend calling the principal, but with a nuanced message -- as in, "I'm so glad my kids will have this nice, quiet bus, but I'm concerned that these rules are a little unreasonable, and that the kids assigned as monitors are being given more authority than is age-appropriate. I'd really like to see a bus where kids are allowed to talk in 'inside voices' and where the older kids know a real grownup is in charge."

In short, I dunno. You should be able to expect some middle ground between the weird fascism that's going on in there and the anarchy that unfortunately is standard fare.

Best wishes,




answers from New York on

It's really not appropriate for 6th graders to be "monitors" - we were recess monitors when I was in sixth grade back in the late 70s. A sixth grader can and will easily take advantage of a position of authority. He has no right to be an authority over other kids. I would bring this up to the superintendent of schools and the board of ed. 5 and 6 year olds should not be getting detentions. Kids should be expected to stay in their seats and not to scream on the bus. However, school buses are very, very noisy, the kids have no adult supervision and it can be dangerous for the bus driver to have so much noise on the bus.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I have not heard of "quiet bus" in our area--although I wish they WOULD have quiet bus...because my son's vocabulary is expanding in the wrong direction!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Provo on

The bus driver has to get control of the bus somehow. I am the aide on a special education bus and fortunately, I am there to help the driver. The driver on a regular education school bus does not usually have an aide. There are usually 70 children on these buses. A lot of people do not understand the safety issue involved with a bus load of out of control kids. I could never be a bus driver! Every driver has their own way of gaining control. If this was a substitute bus driver then this explains a whole lot. A substitute bus driver is usually a beginning bus driver that is fresh out of training and does not know the route very well. The kids tend to push the substitute to the very extent they can. The sub is trying to remember all the things they learned in training and the children are being extra rowdy. I believe that the bus driver was inexperienced and using this as a tactic to gain control of the bus and deal with the safety issue. This probably will never be turned in to the principal. The bus driver probably appointed the trouble makers as monitors to give them a job and get them to quiet down also. I doubt anything will ever come of it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

The kids have to be quiet, to a certain degree. It's a safety issue. I get distracted with my 2 in the back seat. Can you imagine 40 kids all laughing and talking at the same time. And I can see the guy appointing a monitor. There isn't enough funding for 2 personell to be assigned per bus and the driver can't exactly get up and monitor the situation himself. I'd feel a lot more safe for my child on that bus than the ones I rode growing up. There was NO oversight and any number of terrible things happened that the driver was oblivious to. Kids get picked on. Ostercized. Stolen from. I wished there was an adult watching sometimes. Noone is going to walk to the front of the bus - excuse me sir, but that boy is being mean to the other boy. So, yeah - I think this guy is doing what he can to keep everyone safe. Both from things inside and outside the bus. It sounds like the issue is that this particular monitor may be using his power to punish your son. I would address that boys behavior, rather than the bus drivers.



answers from Rochester on

I rode a school bus from kindergarten until i was 16. I have never heard of "quiet bus". I could not imagine riding the bus during that time and not talking with my friends. Especially as a young child. As I got older in Highschool we just put on our headphones and did our homework LOL. We had rules on the bus- such as no standing, running, jumping, etc.
I don't recall anyone behaving badly- such as bullying or anything- so maybe our bus driver didn't see the need to enforce such rules. I would call the bus company and see if this is normal operation. I agree that you should also call the school. I don't think children should get detention for dis-obeying bus rules.



answers from Oklahoma City on

Yes, I have heard of quiet bus and bus monitors. Wouldn't you prefer the bus was quiet for the drivers sake and your childs so the driver can concentrate on driving. Woudn't you prefer a monitor on the bus opposed to the bus driver having take his/her eyes off the road to constantly look back to see who is being loud/disruptive, etc.



answers from Jamestown on

Contact the transportation department for the school and ask them.




answers from New York on

Hi i would go talk to the bus driver and the school principal , about this , also ask the bus driver for the number of his boss or better yet. Call the board of education in your city and find out the phone number for transportation, ask the school principal for help too this is unacceptable behavior i am a bus aide in north jersey and my bus driver plays music for the kids and we sing along we dont have quite time that sounds mean to me and you need to take action, fast



answers from Pittsburgh on

I suppose anything is possible. I know in our school district the principal ranks above the bus company so I would skip calling the bus garage and speak directly to the principal to get to the bottom of this. You could find out if this is a school wide policy or a crotchy driver that doesn't like kids. If it is a district policy then I guess this is one of those times that you have to learn to abide by the rule. If it is a driver imposed policy then maybe he/she can bring a stop to it. You could also give the principal a heads up about how the neighbor boy might treat your son unfairly.

In our school the 5th graders are 'patrols' on the buses. I am not so sure this is an effective program...I know they often talk about eliminating it.



answers from Chicago on

I just leaned out of the chair and asked my son about this. He is 15 and a freshman in highschool. He has been riding the bus since kindergarten. He says he has never heard of this. And that if the bus driver is allowing another child to control who gets into trouble he is a jerk lol. But then he said the only time the bus driver does anything remotely like "quiet bus" is when they are approaching railroad tracks and or when someone stands up. So if I was you I would call your school and ask the actual rules / consequenses. maybe the bus driver has spoken to the children and given rules? But there is no way it is appropriate for 5 and 6 year olds to be silent on a bus for 30 minutes or more.



answers from New York on

Hi H.,
I'm not a big fan of the bus. My daughter is now in first grade and I've been driving her to school and picking her up since kindergarten. I don't want her on a bus with 5th graders. I know so many things go on during a 30-40 minute bus ride. We live only 3 miles from the school and her bus ride would be 40 minutes. By my driving, we get to sleep in an extra half hour and by picking up, we're home in 7 minutes, most times before her bus has even left the school parking lot. I know not everyone can do this, but if you can, it's worth trying it out and driving them yourself.



answers from Columbia on

Growing up it was very normal for us to have "quiet bus" we had it almost everyday. it depends on how loud the kids are being and if the bus driver hears any inappropriate language or conversations. I wouldnt expect little ones to do it but def the older kids.



answers from New York on

That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. I can understand wanting a well behaved bus but if you don't want to hear a bus full of talking children then don't drive a bus for a living. My daughter is in kindergarten and rides on a very well behaved bus that carries K-12 on the same bus. Her driver is great and knows how to control the kids and the kids know the rules. The bus ride is a social thing for them and punishing a child and sending them to detention for "talking" is ridiculous. Maybe for yelling and being out of control but for regular talking? I agree skipping over the bus company and put a call right into the principal. Tell him your son is worried that if he opens his mouth he may get detention and that the other kids picks on him for no reason. Good luck and let us know what happened.



answers from Minneapolis on

My kids have been on elementary buses for 8 years. I have NEVER heard of that arrangment. The fact that you are aware the older student monitors are threatening to write up the younger kids, I would bring to the attention of the principal. And also that these bus driver appointed monitors are not exactly model citizens, but are seeming to revel in it for power and control, which is making the younger children fearful. Only an ADULT should be in charge of issuing write ups for bad behavior, not 10 and 11 year olds.



answers from New York on

You should talk to the principal and ask to see the video on the bus. Start with the principal. The video will show what the bus driver is saying and what the kids are doing. There may be some other "troublemakers" that affect the bus driver's concentration and in order to keep your child safe, the bus driver can't stop to pick out who can be allowed to talk or who can't. Be thankful that the bus driver is concerned about your kids safety. The kids can probably sleep or read books. In my experience, the school takes care of discipline if the bus monitor or bus driver writes up a child. The bus monitor is usually appointed by the principal, not the bus driver. I would definitely take issue with the "troublemaker" being a substitute bus monitor, he may just be making that up and bullying the other kids. Again, ask the principal to request the video to show if your son was talking or if the bus was loud.



answers from New York on

Your children should be able to sit still on the bus. That is a must. The
no talking policy is nuts. However, I would check. This particular bus might
have too much nonsense going on and the bus driver can't concentrate.
Find out the facts first.



answers from New York on

go right to principle monday morning bus driver is there to drive and keep kids safe he need a talking too. if he cant take the talking he needs to get a different job



answers from Lincoln on

I've never heard of that. Its probably just a tactic that particular bus driver is using. I can understand using it if the bus is getting out of control, but not on a regular basis.
Give the principal a call to see if he is ever actually given this list of names and if so, what he does with them. I really can't see a 6 year old getting detention for talking on the bus.


answers from Houston on

My daughter says shes never heard of it, she says her bus is really loud, all the time.



answers from Topeka on

Your best & only options are to call the bus company ask to speak to a supervisor then contact the school if you have further questions.I wouldn't expect children to be completely quite for the bus ride I do however feel it is important to keep the sound level low thye need to see & hear what is going on around them & having a full bus load can complicate things if it becomes obnoxiusly loud..As for having a student be a reporter that I never heard of the driver should ask every student as a whole to please talk quietly if not then the whole bus will be asked to be quite the duration of the ride home.



answers from Seattle on

I am a school bus driver and someone made the suggestion of appointing older children as monitors, during our 2013 back to school orientation, which included student management. Having grown up the second oldest of nine children in my home, I would not put that burden on another child and, as you point out, I don't believe that this is appropriate given the fact that this creates all sorts of dynamics and is unreliable and unprofessional. Where is the training for someone having such responsibility at such a young age? Is this child labor, even if only 30 minutes a day? Mentoring is something quite different but there can be a world of difference between a third grader and a fifth grader so on my bus everyone sits as close to the front as possible with the youngest children up front and the older children to the back of the group. If there are empty seats, that is fine because I prefer that the students can hear me and that I can hear them. We have cameras on our school buses and your district may also be equipped with cameras. I think you should ask to view the tape, if there is one, and discuss procedure with a student discipline officer from the district. There is no such thing as a "quiet bus" but it is possible to have a quieter more respectful bus. It is a climate that the driver creates but can't be guaranteed if he or she has too many children to transport. Parents should support the drivers in petitioning or asking for no more than 30 students on a bus.



answers from Washington DC on

It happens. Its the reason I started driving my kids to school then I ultimately took my two youngest out.
Quiet lunch happens too.
Recess that entails just walking in a circle around the playground.
THere's the bad table at lunch where kindergartners go with 5th graders if they are naughty at their own table.
Bus drivers have turned around midroute and gone back to the school.
Sometimes they don't even leave the school until the whole us has had a talk with the principal.
MOnitors are either a 5th grader, or older child or a volunteer adult.
Sometimes they don't let the 4th grade sibing sit with a very frightened kindergartner.
I could go on. You get the picture. I homeschool my 7th and 4th grader now.



answers from Anchorage on

I would call and ask, I would not want my son subjected to that, so do not stand quiet. Also, call the school and ask about it, if they supposedly get reported to the principal, she or he should know about it and be able to explain it.



answers from San Antonio on

My son has "quiet bus" everyday...because the bus driver and I have decided that is what he needs to get home with out getting in trouble.

He just turned 6 and is in Kinder. He sits in the front row seat where the driver can see him, and reads books (well looks at the pictures) from school to home about 30 to 40 minutes. Just lately another Kindergartner from his class has started riding the bus and they look at the pictures together quietly. I pack two interesting picture books in his back pack.

He got in trouble twice the first week on the bus and has now had a perfect behavior the last month. The rest of the bus is crazy...but my son knows I expect a quiet, still and safe ride.

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