Policies and Practices for Improving Student Bus Behavior: A Delphi Study
Students' behavior on buses continues to be an issue that requires administrators to spend significant time investigating and applying consequences for the behavior (Neatrour, 1994; Pattington, 1945; Putnam, Handler, Ramirez-Plat, and Luiselli, 2003). The purpose of this study was to identify policies and practices that may improve student bus behavior. Two research questions were addressed: (a) What policies could school districts implement to facilitate the improvement of student bus behavior? (b) What practices could school districts implement to facilitate the improvement of student bus behavior?
A three-round Delphi technique was used to conduct the research. The goal was to obtain consensus among experts on the policies and practices that school districts could implement to improve student bus behavior. A panel of 22 experts on student bus behavior participated in one or more rounds of the study. Panelists were selected based on their involvement with and knowledge of student bus behavior and their geographic location, using the five-region structure of the National Association for Pupil Transportation. This process resulted in a broad representation of experts on student bus behavior throughout the United States. The panel of experts included superintendents, directors of transportation, principals or assistant principals, bus drivers, presidents of out-sourced school transportation companies, authors, researchers, and members of the National Association for Pupil Transportation Board of Directors.
Panelists recommended 19 policies and 284 practices for school districts to implement to improve student bus behavior. Based on the consensus of the panelists, student bus behavior could be improved if polices were enacted in eight areas: bus driver responsibility, stakeholder training, bus driver evaluation through observation, student consequences for assaulting a bus driver, bus ridership, bus surveillance technology, bus routes for special education students, and a district-wide universal transportation system with supporting programs. Panelists indicated that student bus behavior could be improved if practices were implemented in nine areas: stakeholder communication, bus driver knowledge, stakeholder training content, stakeholder training processes, stakeholder daily practices, the enforcement of policies and procedures, positive behavior support systems, data analysis, and a district advisory committee.