In Europe, school bus student behavior and discipline areadministered under the DoDEA Regulation 2051.1, Disciplinary Rules andProcedures, Enclosure 8.
Good order among students on the bus is fundamental to safety.
Commonly known as the "bus discipline problem," what's really at stake is the effect that a lack of good order has on every student's safety. "Discipline" isn't the problem—the real problem is safety, because bad "discipline" results in an unsafe operation.
Safe student transportation is one of our highest concerns. We have high standards for mechanically sound vehicles and qualified, trained drivers, two of the three parts that make up the formula for safe school bus operations. The third and equally vital part that completes the formula is safe student behavior on the bus.
The most serious effect of student misbehavior is its impact on the bus driver. Driving in European traffic conditions demands the driver's full attention and absolute concentration. Anything that diverts attention or breaks concentration, however momentary, can have dangerous, even fatal, consequences. Consider this: When the driver looks in the rearview mirror to identify and correct student misbehavior, who is driving the bus?
The direct cause and effect relationship between behavior and safety on the bus underlies DoDEA Europe's policy and program for managing student behavior. A joint working group of school principals, education and transportation officials, component command schools liaison officers, and ECAPTS representatives conducted an in-depth study of the topic and how to manage it. The working group overhauled the process, clearly defining roles and responsibilities; streamlining procedures and making them consistent; simplifying and standardizing the rules; and creating a universal table of consequences.
We implemented the revisions during the fourth quarter of last school year.
Some key points about our policy and procedures are these:
Parents must ensure that their children understand and follow the rules for riding the school bus—see the accompanying box. Commanders at all levels should also be familiar with the rules and table of consequences— copies are available from the school or through the schools liaison officer.
While school principals administer our policy and program for student school bus behavior management, success requires everyone's backing, cooperation and support, including parents, sponsors and guardians, commanders, and other military community officials.
It's all about a safe ride for students to and from school every day.