New rules for young children at bus stops
There are new rules for parents in West Virginia who have young children on the bus.
They must be supervised at the bus stop by a trusted adult or school officials can kick them off the bus for good.
While the policy is catching the attention of some parents, it is actually a relaxation of the rules.
Juggling two kids on the playground isn’t easy, but it’s still far less difficult than the work associated with being a single mom for Tonya Isaac.
“It’s really hard, it’s really because if I can’t do it there’s no one to lean on,” she said.
This includes meeting her sophomore Kyle and her third year Natalie at the bus stop every morning and afternoon. They are both students at Wayne Elementary.
“If the bus driver doesn’t see me or my car, he won’t let them go.”
This is not an easy challenge as Isaac juggles her work schedule as a restaurant manager.
“No, not at all, easy,” she said.
But new state guidelines advise all districts to ensure parents in Kindergarten to Grade 3 provide supervision at the bus stop.
“The purpose of this policy is to ensure that students are protected,” said Jedd Flowers, communications director for Cabell County Schools.
He said the old guidelines required all students to be supervised, even high school students. The new guidelines are now more realistic and focus on age groups who really need help in situations like a bus that fails to stop due to an accident or some other reason. which the child could be left alone for a whole day.
Although each county does it differently, he said the new directive reflects general policy already in place in Cabell County.
“As long as the bus driver can see that the pupil is being watched, if he can see the watching parent or the guardian or the neighbor or anyone you have established, if he can see that the pupil is taken in charge and cared for, then everything will be fine. “
This also includes situations where parents in the same block can coordinate schedules and take turns so that only one adult is watching on a given morning.
If there is a problem, the officials will meet with the parents.
“If we don’t come to a resolution, we’ll have to suspend the bus service. But we hope we never get there,” said Flowers.
On one occasion last year, Isaac’s children were taken back to school by bus one afternoon when Natalie left a note so she could board another bus. It was a bit worrying for them and for her, but she’s glad the school did the right thing.
“There are a lot of crazy people out there,” she said. “I explained to her, ‘Next time you don’t have a word, what do you do? Call mom.'”
Kanawha County is already serving as an identification system for kindergarten to grade two students. Officials are looking to extend until the third year. Wayne County requires Kindergarten to Grade 1 supervision and is also considering expanding to Grade 3.
Cabell County does not provide buses for preschoolers.
In Kentucky, guidelines require the supervision of a parent or guardian of a preschooler. In practice, Boyd County bus drivers will not drop off 5 and 6 year olds unless a parent or adult is present.
In Ohio, there is no requirement for parental supervision. Schools in the city of Portsmouth tell us if a parent normally meets a pupil in the afternoon, if that parent is not there, they will take that child back to school. But if a student is not normally greeted by a parent, they will drop them off unattended.