Being able to maintain appropriate behaviour on the bus allows students to be more independent and creates opportunities for positive interactions with others.

Choose the statement below that best describes how this student manages bussing.
This will help you identify a starting point for selecting strategies (e.g., 1=specialized, 2=targeted, 3=universal).

  • 1. Requires one-to-one assistance to provide physical support (e.g., getting on and off bus, in and out of seat, managing backpack, etc.) and/or to facilitate interaction with peers and/or maintain appropriate behaviour and/or maintain student safety (e.g., staying in seat, not interfering with other students, not distracting driver, etc.)
  • 2. Requires frequent (e.g., more than twice a week) adult prompting to follow basic routines and expectations related to bus behaviour and/or to prevent altercations with peers (e.g., crowding other students, pushing, verbal exchanges, etc.)
  • 3. May require occasional (e.g., less than twice a week) reminders but generally follows routines related to bus behaviour and safety

Universal Supports benefit all students

  • Work collaboratively with school staff to ensure that there is a school-wide plan for supporting positive bus behaviour, including:
    • active supervision in the bus area at both arrival and departure times
    • agreement on and commitment to communicating clear expectations about bus-riding behaviour
    • effective routines that will support positive behaviour on the bus, such as where to wait for the bus (e.g., in designated areas, forming a line) and regular communication with bus drivers.
  • Make instructional time in the classroom to explicitly teach, practise and review routines and behaviour expectations with students at beginning of school year, including:
    • walking to and from the bus area
    • choosing a seat
    • storing personal belongings
    • keeping hands and feet to oneself
    • using a quiet voice
    • staying in seat
    • opening and closing window
    • asking the bus driver for help
    • exiting a bus in an emergency.
  • Develop visual reminders for behaviour expectations on the bus in the classroom collaboratively with students, and post near exit doors throughout the building so students have daily reminders.
  • Use descriptive feedback to acknowledge positive bus behaviour demonstrated by individuals and/or small groups.

Targeted Supports benefit students with more specific needs

  • Pair individual students with positive peers who can serve as role models and provide social support waiting for and riding on the bus. This role should be rotated at least several times throughout the year.
  • Provide proximity by positioning yourself nearby individual students who may require support waiting for the bus.
  • Some students might benefit from an assigned seat near the front of the bus. Discuss this arrangement with the bus driver so that he or she can encourage the student to adhere to the seating plan.
  • For students who require more structure and reassurance, develop and review social stories about bus rides.
  • Work with individual or small groups of students to brainstorm ideas for low-key calming activities (e.g., listening to music with earbuds, puzzle books, fidget toys) that could keep them engaged on the bus.
  • If difficulties on the bus continue, collaborate with the student's parents and, if possible, the bus driver to develop a personalized plan that will support this student's positive and safe bus behaviour.
  • For students with chronic difficulties on the bus, develop self-monitoring strategies students can use to reflect on and keep track of their own behaviour on the bus.
  • Set up a systematic approach to reinforcement for students who are working on improving and maintaining behaviour on the bus (e.g., one incident-free bus ride earns access to classroom computer during that lunchtime). Reinforcement should encourage moving toward intrinsic motivation (e.g., How does it feel when you have an incident-free bus ride?).

Parents know their children well and can offer insights on how to support their social and emotional well-being. There is strength in collaborating on strategies that could be used at home, at school and in the community.


Specialized Supports benefit the small number of students with sensory, physical, cognitive or behavioural needs that require intensive, individualized interventions

  • In exceptional cases, individual students may need 1:1 adult support for safety and/or medical reasons. This support should be provided as unobtrusively as possible and adults should look for opportunities to facilitate social interaction with peers and fade nonessential support.
  • In exceptional circumstances, and with the consultation of an occupational therapist and/or physiotherapist, individual 5-point harnesses, or other safety equipment, may be required to ensure the safety of the student and/or others.