Transportation Updates Safety Rules Letter

(Letter sent home to students transported to and from school via bus)

April 26, 2012

Dear Parents/Guardians:

The safety of our children is of utmost important to the Galloway Township Public Schools. Bus transportation to and from school is one area that we continually work to ensure safety. As you are likely aware, we have experienced difficulties with Integrity Transportation, the main bus company that transports our students. The purpose of this letter is to advise you of the measures we are taking to ensure safe and smooth transportation of our students.

  • Mr. Tim Kelly, our Business Administrator; Mrs. Georgette Reeves, Transportation Coordinator; and I have been involved in numerous meetings and communications (in-person, via telephone, and through email) with the owner and lead personnel of Integrity Transportation. This includes review of our expectations and safety regulations as well as addressing concerns as they are reported.
  • The owner of Integrity has advised us that recent safety meetings have been held with the bus drivers. Additionally, certain drivers have been removed from Galloway routes based on incidents that have happened. In some cases where the concern is a lesser offense (and not a major safety issue), a warning is given before the driver is removed.
  • Mr. Kelley also sent a letter to Greater Egg Harbor Regional School District, the lead agency in our Transportation Consortium, requesting additional assistance in addressing the concerns. This includes the status of a Corrective Action Plan for which we previously provided information.
  • Mrs. Reeves has worked with Integrity to make changes to identified routes (e.g. buses from Smithville School not turning onto Moss Mill Road from Old Port Road).
  • Our Board of Education has identified transportation as a district goal. This includes immediate issues such as improving services from Integrity as well as looking at our participation in the Consortium for the future. (Note: We did participate in the Consortium renewal of the transportation contract for next year only.)

At the school level, all administrators are reviewing with students safety rules for riding the bus. This includes the requirement that seat belts be worn. Please note: By law students are required to wear seat belts. Also by law, the driver is not held responsible if the student does not wear the seat belt. Drivers may not buckle the belt for students. Below are the key points that are being discussed with students this week.

  • Our school district wants to make sure that riding the bus to and from school is safe for all students, the bus driver, and other drivers on the road.
  • We are working with the bus company to make sure the bus drivers follow all the rules.
  • Here's a reminder about bus safety and bus rules:
    • When you get on the bus, go to your assigned seat and buckle your seat belt. Students are required by law to wear seat belts.
    • Every student must be seated before the bus starts moving. You must remain seated during the entire bus ride.
    • Voice volume must be kept similar to classroom voices and language must be school appropriate.
    • Actions like throwing things or putting your body parts out the window are not allowed.
    • Just like at school, you may not hit or touch another student in a harmful manner.
    • Take care of the bus - do not leave trash, damage the bus, etc.
  • If a student does not follow the rules, the student will receive consequences. This could include detention, in-school-suspension, and/or being suspended from school or the bus. Riding the bus is a privilege that you keep by behaving properly.
  • Everyone - adults and students - need to do the right thing for the bus trip to be safe.

Additionally, in an effort to provide students with a quiet activity on the bus, we are going to allow students to listen to iPods or other electronic devices on the bus. This change in practice is being offered on a trial basis. Students must wear ear buds or some other type of ear phone. It is important to note that students are responsible for their electronic device, and it must be kept in their book bag or locker during the school day. The school is not responsible if the device is lost or taken.

In closing, I am respectfully requesting that you take time to review bus safety rules with your child and support us in enforcing the bus rules. Additionally, if you have a concern regarding your child's bus, please contact your child's school or Mrs. Reeves. Thank you for your continued efforts to work together for the benefit of our students.

Annette C. Giaquinto, Ed.D.,
Superintendent of Schools