Bus behavior affects drivers

Amtran+buses+takes+students+home+at+the+end+of+the+day.+The+Amtran+buses+are+parked+outside+the+junior+high.

Maddie Cowfer

Amtran buses takes students home at the end of the day. The Amtran buses are parked outside the junior high.

By Maddie Cowfer, Altoona Area Junior High School

Riding the bus to school is a part of everyday life for many students. The student code of conduct establishes rules and guidelines for behavior on the buses. 

Some students might not think anything of what they are doing on the bus, but misbehavior can lead to distracting the bus driver.  

“Bad behavior on the buses can be a distraction depending on what the behavior is,” Amtran seven bus driver Matthew Noel said. 

When first misbehaving bus drivers give a warning before going any further in punishment.

“What I do to help with behavior is I don’t try to be rude. I try to let everybody know what they are doing wrong and how they can approve or know how to change their behavior,” Noel said.

After a student has been warned and still misbehaves, punishments will be given depending on behavior. 

“Well, actions are taken depending on the behaviors. Corrections are told and warned and if repeated are reported to the principal,” Noel said.

Bus drivers must focus on driving.

“It may be difficult for the driver to focus on driving and the correcting behavior on the bus,” ninth grader Kadence Zerby said. 

Some behavior on the buses is not always heard by other students or the driver. 

“I feel like there is some sort of form of bullying on the bus. Sometimes I don’t see it or hear it, but it is something that is not always spoken or seen,” Noel said.

Even though students are not at school, they are still on a bus run by the school leading to the same punishments as if it were done during the school day. 

“In school, if a student gets involved in a fight the same thing would apply if they were on the bus. They would still be suspended the same amount of days,” ninth-grade principal Jerry Koehle said. 

The most common behavior on the buses is generally insubordination. 

 “On the bus as far as not listening to what the bus driver is asking them to do. Whether it’s to sit down, put the window up, stop moving from seat to seat. Every once in a while we’ll get students throwing things on the bus or students picking on other students,” Koehle said. 

When a student misbehaves the first time and doesn’t get in trouble, they commonly think that they can keep doing it and it is okay. 

“No one really corrects the students on my bus, so they think there’s nothing wrong with doing it,” Zerby said. 

Students may know that there are cameras on the bus, but they may not know that along with visual there is also audio on every bus.  

“My bus is really chaotic with the younger kids like to scream and fight with everybody,” eighth grader Damien Fink said. 

Also along with the general punishments for misbehavior, there is a bus warning. 

“As an addition to school discipline, we have what’s called a bus warring which is basically telling the student if they don’t get their behavior in check we can suspend them from the bus for five days or 30 days then finally removal from the bus,” Koehle said. 

Having another adult on the bus beside the driver might help with some of the misbehavior going on the buses. 

“I think it would be great if there were to be another adult because the bus driver has to be concerned with driving the bus, and they can’t have their eyes on two places at once,” Koehle said. 

This story was originally published on Livewire on March 3, 2020.