Bus Rules and Regulations

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Bus Rules and Regulations

Olympia School District bus drivers and bus aides understand that they carry the most precious cargo there is, each and every day.  The following rules and regulations apply to all students using school district transportation to and from school and school-sponsored activities and events.  Please take the time to go over each bus rule with your student and let them know how important it is to follow these rules. 

If you have any questions about bus rules and regulations, please feel free call the Transportation Department at (360) 596-7700.

  1. The driver is in full charge of the bus and passengers. Passengers must comply with the driver promptly and willingly. Never interfere with the driver’s ability to drive safely.

  2. Students shall ride their regularly assigned bus at all times unless permission has been granted by school authorities based on a note or phone call received from the parent/guardian. Bus notes can be obtained at the front office of the attending school and note must be given to the driver upon entering the bus.

  3. Students shall be on time. Bus policy is to be at the stop five minutes early and wait in an orderly manner. Bus drivers are instructed not to wait for tardy students.

  4. Students shall not stand or play in the roadway or on private property while waiting for the bus.

  5. When the bus is arriving or departing, students shall stand clear of the bus a minimum of six feet.

  6. Students must look both ways before crossing a roadway. When the driver signals students to cross, always cross 6-10 feet in front of the bus. Students must be in full view of the driver at all times. Never cross the roadway behind the bus.

  7. Wait for the bus doors to open before approaching the bus to board or standing up to exit. Load and unload in an orderly manner. Use the handrail. No tripping, pushing or shoving. Go directly to a seat.

  8. Each student may be assigned to a seat in which they will be seated at all times unless permission to change is given by the driver. Elementary students will be assigned seating. Students are to remain in their seats.

  9. Students must sit facing the front of the bus, keep their hands and feet to themselves, and keep their voice levels moderated. No swearing, fighting, hitting, pinching, biting, etc.

  10. Students shall board the bus in an orderly manner and remain within the bus driver’s view at all times.

  11. When the bus stops at a railroad crossing, there will be ABSOLUTELY NO NOISE OR TALKING until the bus is completely across the tracks.

  12. Keep belongings out of the aisle and secured in a safe way so no one is injured. No large bulky items that can’t fit on the student’s lap or between the student’s legs will be not allowed on the bus. (For example: Large instruments, art projects, etc.)

  13. Students may not open the windows without permission from the driver. Upon receiving permission, windows may be opened no further than the third notch. Students shall not throw anything out windows, put any part of the body, and make any gestures out of windows.

  14. Students shall ride their regularly assigned bus at all times unless permission has been granted by school authorities based on a note or phone call received from the parent/guardian. (Please include in the note the name, address and phone number of where your student is going). Present the bus pass from the school secretary to the driver upon entering the bus.

  15. Keep the bus clean and litter free.

  16. Report any damage to the bus driver. Parents of students who damage school buses shall be responsible for proper restoration or reimbursement to the school district and may result in discontinuation of transport.

  17. No eating, drinking, sharing food, or gum chewing is allowed on the bus.

  18. In accordance with Olympia School District Policy #3207: Harassment, Bullying and Intimidation will not be tolerated.

  19. In accordance with Olympia School District Policy #6590: Sexual Harassment will not be tolerated.

  20. Taking photos or videos of students or the driver is strictly prohibited. 

  21. Cell phone use is allowed as long as use is appropriate. Use of the device is up to the discretion of the driver. Ringers must be turned off.

  22. Music devices with headphones may be used as long as the sound does not disturb others. When wearing headphones, students must leave one ear free in able to hear instructions from the driver. Students must not wear headphones while crossing the street.

  23. School busses are a fragrance free environment, students must refrain from spraying/wearing perfumes, colognes, body sprays/mists, etc.

  24. Students are discouraged from bringing items of value or of sentimental significance onto the bus as their safety and integrity are not guaranteed. Transportation is not responsible for anything that is lost or stolen.

  25. Items left on the bus, will be either returned to the school, or held at transportation for pick up. Transportation will hold lost and found for one month, before donation.

  26. No students will be allowed to board and leave a bus once the buses begin to leave the school grounds unless permission is given by the School Personnel or Transportation.

  27. An authorized parent/guardian or older sibling must be at the bus stop to receive kindergarteners and preschoolers.

Failure to follow the rules list could lead to disciplinary action.

Following is a list of items that are not allowed on the bus.  We are unable to list all of the items that may be dangerous to students to transport, so if you have a concern in regards to an item that is not on the list, feel free to call the Transportation office at 360-596-7700 and we will let you know whether it is an allowed item or not.  Remember, if it cannot sit on the student’s lap or between their legs on the floor (items cannot be stored in empty seats, in the aisle or under seats) it is not an approved item per the Washington State Patrol.

Any item listed with a (*) is approved when secured in an approved bag/container.


  • Skate Boards*

  • Live animals

  • Musical instruments*

  • Toy swords or guns

  • Laser lights

  • Fishing Poles

  • Kites

  • Baseball bats*

  • Sports balls (Ex: Basketball) *

  • Glass/Pottery

  • Roller Skates/Rollerblades*

  • Sticks and Rocks

  • Inflated Balloons

  • Drug, Drug paraphernalia Alcohol, Tobacco products (Includes: E-cigs, and Vaporizers)

  • Weapons, and firearms

  • Incendiary Devices/ Explosives



WAC 392-145-016: Rules for students riding school buses.

The policies or rules for students riding school buses shall include; but are not necessarily limited to the following:

  1. Identification of the individual who has authority over the passengers.

  2. Student riding privileges

  3. Loading and unloading procedures, including that if students must cross the roadway, they shall only cross in front and never behind the school bus.

  4. Seat assignment.

  5. Student conduct, including acceptable practices with respect to talking, moving around the bus, use of window, behavior at highway rail grade crossing and other behavior.

  6. Unacceptable hazards that may cause injury to others e.g., firearms, breakable containers.

  7. School bus cleanliness and emergency exit procedures.

WAC 392-145-021 General Operation Requirements

The following operating procedures are required to assure maximum passenger safety:


  • No school bus shall be operated unless each passenger aboard has been provided with a safe seat of sufficient size to accommodate each passenger within the seat compartment. There shall be no auxiliary seating accommodations such as temporary or folding jump seats in any school bus. Students shall remain seated while the school bus is in motion.

  • Passengers in school buses equipped with seat belts shall be required to wear them properly adjusted whenever the school bus is in motion.

  • Heavy, sharp, bulky, and/or other articles which may be hazardous in the event of an accident or an emergency stop shall not be transported unsecured in the passenger area of any school bus. Specific attention is directed to items such as skis, ski poles, vaulting poles, large musical instruments, riser platforms, etc. In no case will items be secured in such a manner as to impede access to any exit. Items which shall not be transported within the passenger area of a school bus include all forms of animal life (except service animals), firearms, weapons, breakable containers, flammables, and all other articles which could adversely affect the safety of the school bus and passengers.

  • When a teacher, coach or other certified staff member is assigned to accompany students on a school bus, such person shall be responsible for the behavior of the students in his or her charge and shall ensure that passengers comply with state rules, and district policies and procedures for student transportation. However, the school bus driver shall have final authority and responsibility.

  • Video cameras are used for safety and security.