1. Isn’t the school district required to transport my child?

         School districts are NOT required by law to transport regular education children. Michigan Compiled Law (MCL) 380.1321 outlines the obligations of the school district IF its board of education elects to provide transportation. Under Article 3 of the Revised School Code, the school district is obligated to provide for the transportation of a special education student if the Individualized Educational Planning Committee (IEPC) has determined that the transportation is a specialized service which is included within and necessary to carry out the student’s IEP.

  2. My child is starting kindergarten. Will the bus pick my child up in front of my house?

         There are no special laws or regulations for transporting regular education students enrolled in kindergarten. If your district provides transportation, it will be provided in accordance with the requirements of MCL 380.1321, Section 55 of the Pupil Transportation Act, and local district policy with regard to the placement of the bus stop.

  3. Is there a law about how far my child has to walk to the bus stop?

         No law specifies the maximum distance a student may walk to the bus stop.  South Haven Public Schools policy states that K-5th grade may be required to walk up to ½ mile and 6th-12th grade may be required to walk up to 1 mile to their assigned bus stop.

  4. Is there a specified distance that must exist between school bus stops?

         The lights on a school bus which are used to notify other traffic of an upcoming stop must, by LAW, be activated 200 feet from the stop. Thus, bus stops must be at least 200 feet apart.

  5. What other factors are involved in establishing where the school bus stops?

         There are many factors which should be taken into consideration when school administrators establish the placement of school bus stops. The basic legal factors are spelled out in MCL 257.1855, but the primary concern is visibility of the bus to other traffic and the consideration of stopping distances necessary for other motor vehicles in order to accomplish safe loading and unloading of the children. In general, state law requires 400 feet of clear and continuous visibility on a highway or roadway where the speed limit is more than 35 miles per hour, and 200 feet where the speed limit is less than 35 miles per hour. There is no state law which specifies a maximum distance between stops.

  6. There are no sidewalks where we live and it’s not very safe walking on the busy road we live on why can’t we have a bus stop at my home?

         It is the responsibility of the parent or legal guardian to see that a child gets safely to and from the bus stop. The school district provides transportation as a non-mandated service and establishes placement of the bus stops in accordance with the requirements of the law.

  7. My child would like to ride the bus to a friend’s home other than the one to which they are regularly assigned why can’t we do this?

         Our overriding focus is to provide safe transportation for students each day. Varying the bus a child rides could potentially create an unsafe situation. In providing transportation for over 2,000 students each day, it is imperative that we monitor students riding the bus very carefully. Therefore, students are not permitted to ride on other buses than the one they normally ride. This practice also helps assure that “loads” on the bus do not vary.

  8. Why are there no seat belts on a school bus?

         South Haven Public Schools follows the requirements of PA 187, the Michigan Department of Education and the Michigan State Police. Buses are built by “compartmentalizing” passenger seating compartments with padding on the back of the seats. The seat backs are higher than in an automobile to help passengers from projecting forward in the event of a sudden stop. Safety experts have determined that seat belts on a school bus could create situations unlike what we experience in a typical automobile. Belts could potentially be used as an instrument to cause harm to students, if a disagreement occurred. They could also be a problem, especially for young children if the bus needs to be evacuated in case of a fire. The unbuckling of seat belts could impede the process of evacuation. Statistics show that school bus transportation is one of the safest modes of ground transportation.

  9. Do drivers assign seats to children?

         Drivers may elect to use various methods of creating an appropriate environment on the school bus. All K-5 grade buses are required to assign students seats.  This helps the driver get to know the student better and know who is on the bus. Seats may be rearranged according to parent request and behavior issues.

  10. My child can’t attend school today. Do I need to contact the Transportation Department?

     It is helpful for the Transportation Department to know if your child is not going to ride on a given day. 

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