Education and Early Childhood Development

School Bus Monitor Program



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The School Bus Monitor Program has been in operation for many years in Newfoundland and Labrador as well as in other locations across North America. It is a proven system with an excellent record of safeguarding students travelling on school buses.

Information below outlines the School Bus Monitor Program, its objectives, and defines some of the duties and responsibilities of people involved in its operation. The practices described are intended to give students and school boards ideas on implementing and administering the program. At the same time, it is realized that some boards may want to include other features or modify the program to accommodate special needs.

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Objective of the Program

To ensure the safe transportation of students to and from school through the use of student monitors. The primary purpose of the student monitor is to assist school bus drivers in carrying out their responsibilities with respect to the safety of students using the school bus service.

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Recommended Procedures for School Bus Monitors

Number of Monitors

It is desirable to have two monitors for each school bus; one stationed at the front, and the other stationed at the rear of the bus. However, it is recognized that the system can be successfully operated using other approaches such as having a monitor or monitors stationed at every bus stop. The procedures adopted do not necessarily have to correspond with those listed here, provided the end result is the safe transportation of children to and from school.

Monitor at the Front of the Bus

The monitor stationed at the front of the bus should ensure that pupils board in an orderly manner and should assist those who may need help. After pupils have boarded, the monitor checks the “danger zone”, and if all is clear, advises the driver that it is safe to proceed and then boards the bus.

During unloading at the school, the monitor should be stationed near the entrance door to see that pupils exit in an orderly manner, and to provide assistance if necessary. Pupils should not be allowed to play near the bus after disembarking.

If pupils are at the loading zone before the bus arrives, they should line up in a single file at a safe distance from the bus stop.

On the way home, the monitor is the first off the bus at each stop, making sure that pupils leave in an orderly manner, and helping those who may need assistance.

If pupils, after leaving the bus, have to cross the road, the monitor will take a position about five metres in front of the bus and in line with the left front fender. From this position the monitor extends both arms to hold pupils back and checks both directions for traffic. On a signal from the driver that the roadway is clear, pupils are allowed to cross.

The monitor at the front of the bus also provides assistance to pupils if an emergency evacuation of the bus is required.

Monitor at the Rear of the Bus

The monitor stationed at the rear of the bus assists the driver in seeing the pupils are seated as soon as possible after boarding, and checks to see that the aisle is kept free of books and other articles.

The monitor assists the driver in seeing that pupils leave the bus in an organized manner by rows starting at the front of the bus. He or she checks for any articles that may have been left behind and in the event of an emergency, assists pupils to evacuate through the emergency door.

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How to Become a School Bus Monitor

Any students interested in becoming a school bus monitor should express their interest to the principal at his or her school. It is the responsibility of the principal of each school to select suitable students to act as monitors for each bus route and to arrange for their instruction.

Emphasis will be on school bus safety and the procedures they should follow in performing their duties. The RCMP is very cooperative when asked to assist in the training of monitors. Further advice and assistance, as well as uniforms and instructional materials are available from the Newfoundland and Labrador and Canada Safety Councils.

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Commitment and Support

To function effectively, it is essential that the program receive the full support and commitment of School Board administrator and teachers. A person within each school district should be assigned the responsibility for the program and to provide guidance and leadership to those responsible at the school level for its successful operation.

It is also important to promote parental understanding of the system and its objective in order to encourage their support and cooperation. In addition, it is desirable, where possible to encourage the participation of civic bodies and service organizations. Public involvement and understanding of the program are highly beneficial and produce positive attitudes towards the system which contribute to its success.

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Duties and Responsibilities of School Bus Drivers

The School Bus Monitor Program is not intended to relieve bus drivers of their responsibility for the safety of pupils travelling to and from school on school buses. At every bus stop it is the duty of the driver to observe traffic from all directions and signal to the school bus monitor that it is safe to allow pupils to cross the road.

School bus drivers should be encouraged to attend meetings arranged by School Boards concerning the School Bus Monitor Program and, where possible, help in the training and supervision of monitors.

The driver is responsible for discipline on the bus. Pupils should be directed to go immediately to their seats (except where standees are allowed) and remain seated until the bus comes to a complete stop.

If pupils are boarding or leaving the bus and the monitor is not on duty, the driver should direct pupils to remain on the side of the road until it is safe to cross. Pupils should always wait for the driver's signal before crossing and should always cross in front of the bus.

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The school Bus Monitor Program was developed to protect students using the school bus service. Its effectiveness in accomplishing this objective is unquestionable and can be measured in terms of accidents prevented and lives saved. Positive results, however, depend to a large extent upon the commitment of School Board members and school administrators to the program.

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development enthusiastically supports the School Bus Monitor Program. Not only is the program highly effective in reducing accidents but it encourages pupils to be more safety conscious.

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