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Transportation

Transportation Eligibility Requirements

The Bethlehem Central School District provides transportation to and from schools for the following resident students:

  • All elementary students
  • Middle School students who live more than a half mile from school.
  • High School students who live more than a mile from school.
  • Resident students who attend private and parochial schools within 15 miles of their homes.

Elementary School Boundaries

The following list delineates the boundaries for our elementary schools by street name. If you have questions, please contact the Transportation department.

Bus Stop Assignments

The district is committed to assigning appropriate bus stops for all transportation-eligible students.

Many factors are considered when selecting stops, including availability of sidewalks, speeds traveled by vehicles on a particular road, and the potential number of students at a given location. The 2012-13 school year included many changes, across all program areas, including transportation. The impacts to transportation included requiring students walk further to their bus stops, possibly up to a half-mile for students in grades 6 to 8 and up to a mile for students in grades 9 to 12. Students will be asked to walk from side streets and cul-de-sacs, up to main roads. Also, the number of stops was minimized, so students need to walk to a central pick up point.

We recognize that not all streets have sidewalks, some roads are curved, and some streets are narrower than others. Sometimes you might not be able to see your child from your home. We are responsible to create stops that are appropriate and consistent with our guidelines, and to do our utmost to provide a safe ride to and from school. Parents are responsible for the safety of their children to and from their assigned bus stop.

We know that no one is more familiar with your particular neighborhood than you are. If as you consider your child’s bus stop, you have a suggestion for an alternate stop, please bring it to our attention. If we can make an improvement in the stop location that is still consistent with our guidelines, we will be happy to shift the assigned stop. Remember though, that sometimes a change that might be ideal for your child will negatively affect a larger group of students, or will require the creation of an additional stop, which is not consistent with the broader goal of consolidated stops. When the stops are determined, the District looks collectively at what works best in a particular section of a route, for the group of students in that neighborhood.

Remember that the setting of bus stops and routes is a fairly complex operation, and that it normally takes a few weeks into the start of the school year before the routes “settle down”. Please be patient, and know that we will make every effort to be responsive to your concerns. You may reach the Transportation Department by phone (439-3830) or by e-mail (transportation@bcsd.neric.org).

August and September are the times that our volume of calls and e-mails are particularly heavy. Please know that every effort will be made to respond to your concern within 24-48 hours. We remain committed to providing you with a positive Transportation experience.

Items on the School Bus

All of the items that a child brings to school should be packed in a carrying case, such as a tote bag or backpack, which must be small enough to be held on the student’s lap. Students on a school bus may not transport large items and food for class parties.

New York State Department of Transportation and federal regulations prohibit bringing large items and musical instruments on school buses (NYSDOT Regulations Section 721.22). This prohibition is designed to prevent the blockage of seats and aisles in the event of an accident.

The following is a partial list of what is allowed on the bus, if it is able to be held on the lap of the student:

  • piccolo
  • oboe
  • flute
  • soprano clarinet
  • bassoon
  • snare drum
  • alto saxophone
  • french horn
  • trumpet
  • violin
  • viola

Large items that cannot fit on a student’s lap are not allowed on the bus. These include, but are not limited to:

  • trombone
  • alto clarinet
  • bass clarinet
  • contra bass clarinet
  • baritone saxophone
  • cello
  • guitar
  • tenor saxophone
  • tuba
  • baritone horn
  • string bass
  • large school projects
  • skateboards
  • bikes
  • fishing poles
  • hockey sticks
  • skis and poles
  • some lacrosse sticks (offensive sticks are allowed, longer defensive and goalie stick are not)
  • sleds

Placing large items on the floor of the bus and holding them in between the legs is not permissible.

Other items not allowed on the bus include, but are not limited to:

  • weapons (real or play)
  • pets or any live or preserved animals
  • glass containers
  • aerosol cans
  • coloring paints
  • play putty or other arts-and-crafts items
  • especially sharp objects or objects with points

These items are examples that can be used as weapons that cause injuries to passengers or that may be used to deface the interior of a school bus.

The wearing of cleats aboard a school bus is also prohibited. Cleats can damage the interior of the bus and they also create an unsafe (they can be slippery on wet surfaces) condition for our athlete students.

Your assistance and cooperation is important to the district as we ensure a safe and efficient transportation experience for our students.

If you have any questions regarding this policy, you may reach the Transportation Department by phone (439-3830) or by e-mail (transportation@bcsd.neric.org).

Safety Policies & Procedures

At the start of each school year, please review the safety tips, rules and procedures outlined below with all students and drivers in your family, and encourage everyone to follow the them. Some of these – such as stopping when encountering a school bus with flashing red lights (whether you are on the road or in a school parking lot) and obeying school zone speed limits – are state laws. They were established for the safety of everyone on the roads, especially our children!

PROPER CROSSING PROCEDURES

Please review these procedures with your children; if they must cross the road in front of the bus, knowledge of safe crossing procedures is vital.

  • Crossers get off the bus first. When discharging passengers, the school bus driver will discharge the crossers first. Once they have safely crossed to the other side of the street, the bus driver will discharge non-crossers.
  • Waiting for the signal to cross. A student getting off the bus should walk to the front of the bus to a place where he/she can see the bus driver and the bus driver can see him/her. When all is clear, the driver will signal to the student that it is OK to cross, but as a precaution, the student should always look both ways before crossing.
  • The horn warns of danger. If the driver blows the bus horn, the student should immediately return to the starting point.
  • When parents meet the bus. Parents meeting the bus should wait on the side of the road where the child will be getting off and then follow the above procedures for crossing. Parents need to discourage their children from running across the road to greet them.

PARENT’S SAFETY RESPONSIBILITIES

As parents, you should carefully review these policies with all members of your family. You should pay special attention to the following bus routes and safety information:

  • Carefully review your child’s bus route to determine if the bus will pick up your child on the home side of the street or on the other side of the street.
  • Children should not cross the street to board the school bus if not required to do so. If the designated bus stop requires your child to cross the street, follow the crossing procedures outlined here. Remember, your child should remain on the home side of the street until the bus stops completely. Your child should never cross the street until the bus driver gives the signal that it is safe to cross.
  • Students should arrive at the stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.

DRIVERS’ RESPONSIBILITIES

  • STOP – from either direction, even on divided highways – when encountering a stopped school bus with its red lights flashing. The bus is either picking up or discharging riders. Proceed only when the red lights are turned off and the bus is moving again, unless waved on by the bus driver or a police officer.
  • Flashing yellow lights warn that the bus is about to stop, so slow down and prepare to stop. Children may be coming from any direction.
  • Be aware that school buses may not turn right on red.
  • Any vehicle that passes a school bus that has its flashing red lights activated will be reported to the police and/or New York State DMV.

BUS RIDERS’ RESPONSIBILITIES

Before the ride:

  • Put loose articles – homework, books, pens and pencils – in a backpack.
  • Arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive. DO NOT wait inside your home, then run out to the bus.
  • Do not rough house at the stop.
  • Wait until the bus has stopped completely and its door is open before approaching it.
  • If you need to transport an item too large to fit on your lap, make other arrangements to get to school that day.

During the ride:

  • Listen to any instructions from the bus driver – he/she is there to prevent injury to you and others.
  • Remain seated properly throughout the bus ride
  • No skateboards, animals, flammable materials of any kind, or medications that contain controlled substances may be transported on a school bus. The driver will not allow any of these items on the bus. Please call 439-3830 with any questions about specific items.
  • Weapons of any kind and threatening gestures and/or comments will NOT be tolerated on the bus. A violation may result in a five-day suspension and a Superintendent’s Hearing with the possibility of more serious consequences. In accordance with the Gun Free Schools Act (1994), possession of guns on buses or school property could result in at least a one-year suspension.
  • Behave on the bus as you are expected to behave in class. Be courteous; don’t use profane language.
  • Eating, drinking and smoking on the bus will NOT be tolerated.
  • Keep the bus clean; whatever you bring on the bus must leave with you.
  • Don’t damage the bus – it’s school property, owned by the residents of the district.
  • Cooperate with the bus driver, who is authorized to assign seats.
  • Fighting, pushing and shoving will NOT be tolerated.
  • Keep head, hands and feet inside the bus at all times.
  • STAY IN YOUR SEAT, especially when the bus is moving.
  • All BC buses are equipped with seat belts. All students are encouraged to use them.

SAFETY TIPS

Bethlehem Citizens for Pedestrian Safety and BC’s Transportation Department would like to share with you these important safety tips.

  • Drive slowly on roadways that pass parks and playing fields, and be on the lookout for children on bikes and for pedestrians. Don’t assume they see you.
  • Make sure they see you before you proceed through intersections or pull out from driveways or parking lots.
  • Pedestrians, remember to use sidewalks and marked crosswalks when they are available. When sidewalks aren’t available, always walk on the left side of the road facing traffic and as far from the road as possible. When crossing a street, cross only at intersections and look left, right, and then left again before proceeding across.
  • When walking, always try to wear bright-colored or reflective clothing so you can be seen more easily by motorists.