Parents to sign ‘contract’ for children’s school-bus behavior

By David Skolnick


From fighting to just eating, Youngstown school officials say they won’t tolerate inappropriate behavior on the district’s buses.

Parents of students in the district will receive a “contract” next week detailing unacceptable conduct on buses, said Superintendent Wendy Webb.

“We won’t tolerate bad behavior,” she said Friday.

The rules include obeying the driver and no fighting or verbal abuse, no eating or drinking on buses, no misbehaving at the bus stop and no yelling or shouting on buses.

“We are determined to provide a safe environment for the students,” Webb said. “Parents need to tell their kids to sit down on the bus and behave. It’s a life-or-death matter. A real tragedy could happen.”

Because it’s a new program, parents will have time to sign and return the forms.

But after a certain time, still not determined, the failure to return the form will result in the district’s not permitting those students to ride the bus to and from school or for field trips, Webb said.

Beginning next school year, the contracts will be sent home with students at the start of each school year, Webb said.

“We want to keep the kids safe,” said Dianna Rycek, a Youngstown school-bus driver.

“One child can cause a whole bus load of kids problems,” she said.

It’s against state law, Webb said, for students to eat or drink on the bus.

A student earlier this school year choked on food while riding the bus, she said.

There were a couple of instances with students having behavioral problems on the bus this school year, Webb said.

“We want for everyone to have a safe ride to and from school,” said Rachel Smith, principal of McGuffey Elementary School.

The written policy that must be signed by parents comes at a time when national attention is being focused on bullying, Webb said.

“Bullying and inappropriate behavior are not tolerated,” she said.

Each city school bus has video cameras to monitor student behavior.

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