Zero tolerance discipline policies and school bus safety
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The job of the school bus driver is one of the toughest jobs in Winn County Public Schools (WCPS) district, specifically at Xavier Elementary School (XES). The purpose of the school bus is to transport student riders in a safe and orderly manner daily. This mixed methods research study examines the role of the bus driver in the larger school-community context and how bus ride infractions affect learning outcomes. This study also examines the impact of zero-tolerance discipline policies on school bus safety. An interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) approach (Reid, Flowers, & Larkin, 2005) was utilized to collect and triangulate data from a focus group, semi-structured interviews, baseline local school bus discipline data, a questionnaire, and observations of bus drivers, while transporting students. The school bus driver is responsible for providing an orderly bus environment where students can have more positive thoughts about learning and fewer concerns about violence. The XES Action Research (AR) team implemented an effective school-wide bus intervention program to reduce the number of violent infractions on the school bus, minimize bus suspensions, while improving the student learning outcomes on the Quarterly District Assessments (QDA), as compared to the neighboring elementary schools. Findings suggest that bus safety is paramount to the start of each day of teaching and learning.