Kindergarten Student on Bus for Almost 2 Hours.

Updated on August 30, 2008
A.L. asks from Steubenville, OH
19 answers

Does anyone happen to know what the laws are on how long a child can be on a bus. My 6 year old son is in Kindergarten and was on the bus for almost 2 hours yesterday. Today should be about 1/2 hr earlier and then hopefully another 15 min in a week or so. My 3 1/2 year old daughter will be riding the bus home from preschool starting on Tuesday. I'd rather her not be on a bus that long. The bus information published in the paper was wrong and it was published anyway. It stated the wrong bus number for my child to return on and listed the incorrect drop of time. I recently read an article about how long children are allowed on a bus and I would like to have the info when I contact the bus garage to complain. This is in no way the bus drivers fault as she is very upset by the whole situation. Any website address or information you can give me would be greatful. Thanks.

I greatly appreciate the suggestions I have received. However, before I receive any more suggestion about driving my child to school, let me explain why I would rather not. My daughter will be starting preschool at the same school my son attends. She will go to afternoon preschool 4 days a week half a day. Therefore, I would make a 20 mile trip to take my kid to school, 20 mile trip home. Wait about 2 1/2 hrs and take the same 40 mile round trip to drop off my daughter. I would then have to wait another 2 hrs and pick them up. That is 120 miles a day 4 days a week and 80 miles on Friday. That is a lot of mileage to drive just because the system is too bullheaded to change the schedule. They have cut back on the drivers mileage by combining routes and in the long run, they have upset most of their parents. I could drive my children to school but what about all the other children left on their buses for over an hour. Some of these children are going to a babysitter who cannot load up the children she is watching to pick up another. I'm looking for a way to change the system.

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So What Happened?

Here is the info I have found..
There is no identified target number that districts are obligated to meet. It is up to
each school district to manage the length of time students ride the bus. Ride
times vary by traffic; locality and numerous other criteria—each school district’s
ride times can be different.
My children do not complain of their bus ride and their welfare is in no danger. This district has changed their school times and bus routes. Many children are still on the bus for hours. My children are on the bus for around 1 hour and 15 minutes. They are supposed to have a new system put in place to save money but all it has done is put children on the bus longer. Unfortunatley, this school district is strapped for cash and the need to save money is more important than the children.

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answers from Columbus on

This is from the Ohio Dept. of Ed. Website, Pupil Transportation

General requirements.
(1) Each school district shall establish its own reasonable travel time.
Travel time is defined as beginning at the initial pickup of the child
and ending with the final arrival at the school destination.
The school district shall develop its travel time standard,
approved by the individual board of education, and shall consider
the following factors: age of child, condition of disability,
geographic size of school district, location of special education
class, traffic patterns, and roadway conditions.

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answers from South Bend on

All states have different laws about how long a child is allowed to be on a bus. Don't call the bus garage to complain. You need to call the school's transportation number to complain about the issue. The garage only keeps the busses and does not set up the time schedule. The time schedule needs to be dealt with through the school system itself.

I am 31 and have been married for almost 12 yrs. My husband and I have 3 boys ages 10,7, and 4.

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answers from Cleveland on

I do know that last year we had busing prolems and had to switch my daughter to the afternoon program, the school forced us, she had been in the morning program, due to the fact that they could only be on the bus an hour. call the school board they should be able to tell you the laws



answers from Cleveland on

My son rides the bus and as far as I know they are only allowed on the bus for 90 mins. I am not sure where you are, however, youshould call the bus company and find out.



answers from Youngstown on

Riding the bus to school is part of the experience. Please don't feel bad about your child riding the bus and your a SAHM. I'm also a SAHM and my 10 year old rides the school bus.

During his preschool years he rode the bus for an 1 1/2 and that's because he was going to a special school that was a bit further from my house. He had an aide on the bus and sat in a car seat, so he had someone to play with or could doze.

I started driving my son to school for his mainstreamed Kindergarten because I was worried about him on the bus (he has high functioning autism). Then we began having him ride the bus home. When I had my next son, I still drove him to school and the bus brought him home because I just did not like the idea of him riding the bus an hour in the morning when the school was only 3 miles away! On the way home he was the first dropped off, so his ride was 15 minutes.

But when I had my third son, I did not want to pack up my oldest, an almost 2 year old and a newborn in the van. By then, my son was older and better able to handle some situations and started riding the bus in the mornings and afternoons, but I did pick him up one day a week.

No he's in 3rd grade and rides the bus to and from school every day.

I don't know if my winded post helps you any!



answers from Cleveland on

Just curious, if you are a stay at home mom then why dont you drop off and pick up your 6 year old. I think at that age anything more than 30 mins is too long that young of a child to be on the bus.



answers from Cleveland on

First off I want to say KUDOS TO YOU. So many people look for a "quick fix" to a problem such as just driving your child to school (when in fact that might be much more difficult for you) rather than actually trying to solve the problem. I think is is wonderful that you are not only trying to correct this problem for your children, but also for the others who have the same issues.
I agree that 2 hours is way too long. Children that young have a very hard time sitting for that length of time which could result in behaviour problems at school. Also, many cannot "hold it" and might have potty problems.
Although I do not have an answer for your questions on the length of time allowed, I encourage you to contact everyone you can to complain. Possibily even contact the other parents who's children ride the bus to encourage them to do the same. If there are no laws in place against this, maybe it's time to contact City Counsel to try to establish a law. And obviously, don't forget to vote for the school levy when that comes around. Maybe more money will go toward more bus drivers.
Good luck!!!



answers from Indianapolis on

I wourk with people with disabilities and this has always been a concern because buses pick kids up from everywhere. THat being said, the last I heard was that they can be on the bus for no longer than 2 hours max.



answers from Toledo on

Two hours is over the limit on time. I understand the drivers and children are all getting use to the 'back to school' schedule, but that is unbelievable. When I worked in Head Start, Federal Mandates required that the children NOT be on the bus for more than 60 min. I would assume that that would be true for ALL pre-schoolers. I would contact your bus garage supervisor, the person who does the bus routes and all that, and talk to them about it. I was just there (in person this time) this morning. I also wonder if the little ones are able to get enough sleep in order to ride the bus for 2 hours, if my Kindergartener had to be on the bus for 2 hours she would have to get up at 6am and go to bed at 6:30pm, appaling if you ask me. You might have to consider transporting them yourself if they can't reduce the bus time.



answers from Indianapolis on

I wish I had encouraging words for you, but I don't. My daughter is in 2nd grade and has NEVER been on the bus. I take her and pick her up everyday. I have been behind the bus on the way to the school and witnessed her hit a speed limit sign on the side of the road. More than a few times, she has hit the curb on the way in or out of the lot. I'm at a loss myself, and calling the trasnportation dept. did not help. Now to make matters worse, the pick up situation at the school has been changed to accomodate the drivers that can't seem to get the bus around a car with 30 ft to spare. Good luck!



answers from Dayton on

Do you live far out away from the school? When I was a child we were on the bus for a LONG time because we lived out in the middle of no where, it was just part of life we got used to it. We have all day kindergarten here so we don't have to worry about lunch before hand. When our youngest son and daughter rode a pre school bus they were on it for about 30 minutes, however, there were kids on it a long time. I often wondered how they handled potty needs. Anyway, the pre school bus is a whole different story. They don't just stick to neighborhoods, etc. they are all over the city and typically there is usually only one bus, that's why some are on there so long. I may not be helping you much but it does sound fairly normal and you will all adjust and it'll become part of your day. Don't let people make you feel bad because your child is riding a bus. You have to do what is right for YOU and YOUR FAMILY. Good luck, I know kindergarten is a transition for moms too.



answers from Toledo on

How far away are their schools? If I were you I wouldn't even put them on a school bus. They are too young. I would take them to school and pick them up, especially if it isn't too far away. Of course, that is just my opinion.
G. A.



answers from Steubenville on

Well, stranger!!! Who would have thought that when I sat down at the computer today and started reading all my mamasource emails that I would find YOU on here!!!!!!
This bus thing sure is a mess isn't it? I just pick up all the kids in the afternoon rather than get them off the bus because, even though their bus stop is 4 miles from the school, they were going to be on teh bus 45 minutes. That's just ridiculous IMO.
(BTW... This is Jeremiah's mom)



answers from Lafayette on

I have the same problem this year. My son is going to preschool and in order to get there at 12:15, they wanted to pick him at 10:20! I would have to serve him lunch at 9:30 and obviously that won't work. Plus he has Autism, so I can only imagine his behavior issues after sitting that long. What I don't understand is last year he went to the same school,we lived in the same place, and he was only on the bus for 45 minutes. When I called the head of transportation she said she has had several complaints for the same thing, and there's nothing they can do! I am now taking him to school and requested gas mileage reimbursement. I have to wait a month after turning it in, but it's better than nothing. Maybe ask about that.



answers from Lima on

2 hrs. does sound like an excessive amount of time. The school where I live, is a rural school but all the longer any of the routes are is 1 hr.
If you don't live real far out, think of just going and picking him up and dropping him off. Lots of parents do that due to work schedules etc... you don't have to be a work away from home parent to drop off and pick up.!!!!
Most schools have a policy that the ACTUAL driver has to call every family on the bus route before school starts (usually a few days ahead)and let them know what the pick up and drop off time will be. All drivers if new, are supposed to drive their routes before school starts, so they can give accurate times.
My husband was a full time school bus driver for 34 years and still subs once in a while.
Unfortunately some parents don't inform the school like they should, if they are babysitting and will have extra kids getting on/off at their location, or if their kids one day get dropped off here and another day somewhere else.
Our school here in Anna, OH, is very particular about that kind of thing.
The first person to contact is the elementary principle, then actually the superintendants office. Here the superintendant secretary does a lot with the bus schedules.



answers from Fort Wayne on

When my children were younger, I put them on the bus because the school they went to was across town. The three went together, 5th, 2nd and kindergarten. Our experience was similar however it did get shorter as the year went on but only marginally. Our bus also didn't come into walking range of our house so I had to drive there anyway to get them. Also, our middle child is very ADHD/ aspergers and the time on the bus was more than he could handle. I decided to pick them up at school and we could be home to see the other parents waiting for their kids. The kids loved that. Then we added driving them there as well, it added 20 minutes to their sleeping time and that made us all happy. When the oldest went to middle school, she took the bus but we continued to drive the elementary kids. One year we did do a car pool, but decided I enjoyed the time with my own children a little to much to add in someone who could be difficult at times. I always refer to our time in the car as captive audience time as we talk about just about everything in there. Sometimes it can get a little deep, other times there have been things that happened at school that when I found out, we turned the car around and went to see what the problem was. This was some of the most precious time I spent with my kids. Now the oldest drives the middle to high school and the youngest rides with me. We still have great conversations.
Hope this helps.



answers from Indianapolis on

I have never heard of any laws or rules about how long a student can be on a bus. Where we live, a very growing area that redistricts our children all the time, we try to have no child on the bus for more than half an hour each way - but chances are that will change to more like 45+ minutes as people move further out from where the existing schools are. It's a bummer, but not sure your school transportation director can do much to help you. Interested to know what other info you find.



answers from Toledo on

Hi A.,

A nearby community, the bus service was cut for some older kids, but still that's terrible for a 14yr-old to walk on a non sidewalk rd in the snow! The rising fuel costs is affecting everyone, including non-busriders. Lunches went up by 50cents, so I pack my daughter's lunch.

2hrs sounds WAY to long for a young child, what happens in a potty emergency? I was older, but HATED my 1 hr total time on a stinky bus everyday, as I often suffered from migraines.

I have nothing against busdrivers: my aunt is one and feels so much compassion for all her little preschoolers...she knows their lives are in her hands for that time. My daughter depends on bus drivers for field trips and such, and I chaperone often, and each one has been kind yet authoritative as far as the crucial rules to be obeyed.

But still, 2hrs for your little ones, you have a right to complain. If no solution is met, are there ways to arrange a carpool w/ other trusted parents? For now, I'd use the stay-at-home advantage (I stay at home, too), and drive the children myself and that may enable you to meet other parents at the school.




answers from Indianapolis on

What's more important, your time and gas or your kids time and welfare? My child begs and pleads to ride the bus- he's in 1st grade- but my husband and I have decided that is just not a good idea. I can't even imagine putting my 3 year old on a bus. I agree that you shouldn't HAVE to take them and pick them up, but just because a system is broken do your children deserve to suffer while you try to change it? I have older nephews and hear what they have learned on busses and know what I learned on busses 25+ years ago... I want to keep my children safe from unnecessary language and behavior that they are too young to stand up to and realize that is not how we conduct ourselves. Please know that I'm not judging you, just wanted you to think about the other side of the coin. Good luck in your decisions and in trying to better the system in your town.

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