Most of the focus on bullying prevention has taken place on interactions that take place in classrooms, neighborhoods, and family life, leaving out the vehicle that gets from the home to the school. According to some researchers, the yellow school bus is ripe for bullying because of the following factors:
- Children are together without an adult supervisor. Many buses do not have a bus monitor, leaving the bus driver with the responsibility of watching the children. The driver is focused on driving the bus safely, and often does not understand what is happening behind her.
- The bus is a tight enclosed space and escaping it is not possible. A bullying victim can even think of themselves as being held captive in the bus. A bus driver can set assigned seating and spread out children, but these measures can only go so far.
- The grouping of students and bus route often means children who would normally not hang out together are now forced together in close confines. Depending on the bus route, children are grouped together due to location and children of different ages are near one another for an extended period of time. This can lead to interesting interactions, at the least.
Since the school bus is considered an extended part of the school environment, school bullying policies extend to the bus as well. this means the bus driver, along with other adult staff, have a responsibility to ensure children are feeling safe on the bus. If a California parent believes their child is the victim of bullying, they should find out the policies in their school and alert the bus driver as to the situation. At times, it is not possible to put an end to the bullying and in that situation, it might be best to find out what one’s legal options are.