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Student behavior on school buses addressed in legislation moving in the Kentucky House


Kentucky lawmakers are examining ways to reduce student misbehavior on public school buses. The pending legislation also addresses parental misconduct.

HB 446 requires local school boards to adopt a transportation services policy. GOP Bill Sponsor Emily Callaway said it includes the expected standard of student behavior while also addressing the handling of driver complaints. Callaway said it will require acknowledgment from the parents.

“And this will be a separate policy from what we see as the student discipline guidelines. This will be something separate sent home from the handbook,” said Callaway.

The legislation also specifies expectations and accountability regarding the actions of parents or guardians. The forms, signed by students and parents, would need to be returned within seven days or schools could restrict transportation services.

Lexington GOP Representative Killian Timoney said he wished the bill did more to say assaulting a bus driver carried an additional penalty compared to a street assault.

“But, if you’re a bus driver and you’re responsible of the safety of 30 kids and somebody comes on the bus and assaults you, in addition to the assault done to you, that’s a trauma event. The kids on that bus are looking at you as the person who protects them,” said Timoney.

Timoney also said adequate training for bus drivers is important, but that’s not always happening because of the shortage of drivers. Louisville Democratic Representative Tina Bojanowski expressed concern that the bill not pre-empt any federal guidelines regarding the transportation of special education students.

Much of the discussion surrounding the bill centered on Jefferson County schools. In her comments Callaway said the fall semester in Louisville saw more than 12 hundred cases of striking a student and more than 200 cases of taunting, baiting, and inciting a fight.

GOP Committee member and McKee School Principal Timmy Truett said such misbehavior is also an issue in rural Kentucky, but not to the same degree. A school bus driver for 20 years, Truett said it’s important to set the rules clearly and that cameras on buses helped in their district. There was also discussion about on-bus adult monitors. While there were comments about the benefits of another set of eyes on the bus, Callaway said some adults may be taken advantage of and feel intimidated.

Here's more with Rep. Callaway following the legislative meeting:


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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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