Driver Qualifications—All School District 15 bus drivers are licensed by the Secretary of State and the Illinois State Board of Education. To qualify for a school bus license, a driver must:
- Have a good driving record.
- Be at least 21 years old.
- Complete a state-mandated, eight-hour bus safety course.
- Demonstrate safe behind-the-wheel driving skills.
- Complete an annual two-hour bus safety refresher course.
- Pass an annual physical examination, including a drug/alcohol test.
School District 15 provides inservice workshops for drivers on topics such as bus safety, discipline, defensive driving, and driving in bad weather.
Bus Inspections—School District 15 maintains its own staff of trained mechanics. All buses meet strict safety standards set by state and federal regulations. All buses are equipped with radios and are in contact with the transportation office at all times. Each school bus is required to have:
- A daily, pre-trip safety inspection by the driver.
- Preventive maintenance and safety inspection every 3,000 miles.
- An inspection every six months at a state-licensed safety-lane facility.
- A major safety and maintenance inspection annually or every 10,000 miles.
At least twice a year, students practice proper procedures for an emergency bus evacuation. In addition, all buses are equipped with a first-aid kit and a fire extinguisher.
Student Safety and Behavior—Most accidents or injuries to students occur when they are boarding or leaving the bus. Students must follow every precaution when entering or leaving the bus. If anything is dropped when getting on or off the bus, the youngster should not pick it up. The child should let the driver know that something has been dropped so the driver may assist the student. Parents are encouraged to review this rule with their children.
Please encourage your child(ren) to wear their seat belt while riding the bus.
All students who ride buses must follow the District’s School Bus Safety Guidelines:
- Students are to board and depart the bus at their assigned stop only. Students are not permitted to ride another student’s bus.
- Student walkers may not ride the buses.
- Students should be at the bus stop five (5) minutes before the scheduled arrival time of the bus. At the end of the school day, students are to go quickly to their bus’ designated area and wait in an orderly fashion for the bus to arrive.
- While waiting for the bus, students are not to stand or play on the road or street. After exiting the bus, students who must cross the road must do so 10 feet in front of the bus and only when the stop arm is out and the flashers are operating, and must follow instructions from the bus driver.
- Students are to remain seated throughout the entire bus ride.
- Windows are not to be lowered below the safety mark. Students’ heads, hands, arms, and feet, and all objects must be kept inside the bus.
- Loud conversation, profane language, throwing objects, and discourteous actions toward the bus driver or other passengers will not be tolerated.
- Students are responsible for any damage to the bus.
- Glass containers, live animals, and large objects may not be carried on the bus.
Students who display inappropriate behavior will have their transportation privileges taken away. Gross disobedience or misconduct providing grounds for suspension from riding the school bus includes:
- Prohibited student conduct as defined in the Student Behavior Policy;
- Willful injury or threat of injury to a bus driver or to another rider;
- Willful damage and/or defacement of the bus;
- Repeated use of profanity;
- Repeated willful disobedience of the bus driver’s directives; or
- Such other behavior as the administration deems to threaten the safe operation of the bus and/or its occupants.
To enhance bus safety, video cameras are installed on all District buses to assist the driver in monitoring student behavior. Students who display inappropriate behavior will be subject to consequences, which may include but are not limited to loss of bus riding privileges, detention, and/or suspension.
Reminders for Motorists—Parents and community members can support bus drivers by being good safety examples to their children and by being courteous to bus drivers. Here are a few reminders:
- It is against the law to pass from either direction on two-lane roads a stopped school bus with flashing red lights and the stop arm extended. Traffic on four-lane roads going in the opposite direction do not have to stop.
- A school bus must stop at all railroad crossings with or without children by using emergency lights.
- School buses make frequent stops and wide turns.