Frequently Asked Questions

If I wish to have information about my child’s bus stop location, whom should I contact?

State law and guidelines regulate establishing bus stops.  Mattawan Consolidated School goes well beyond minimum requirements to service students.  If you have questions regarding a bus stop location, please feel free to call our Transportation Department at (269) 668-3361 x1740.

If I have a concern about behavior on the bus, whom should I contact?

Our school-wide discipline plan includes expectations of students while riding a bus.  A bus driver has similar authority on the bus as a classroom teacher has over their classroom.  Our expectation is that students will cooperate with bus drivers in a courteous and cooperative manner.  Our goal is to facilitate students learning to resolve conflicts independently.  However, if a student needs help, the student should contact the bus driver to help resolve an uncomfortable situation.  Just as with classrooms, building administrators will become involved in disciplinary matters that require special attention.  All Mattawan buses have two-way radios and are equipped to make both visual and audio recordings of the bus environment.

Is a background check performed on each bus driver?

Every school employee in the State of Michigan is required to be fingerprinted and pass a background check through the State Police at the time of employment.

May my child ride to a friend’s home on a bus other than the one to which they are regularly assigned?

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 3,000 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.

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

It is helpful for the Transportation Department to know if your child is not going to ride on a given day.  After calling your child’s school to inform the building that your child may not be in school, please ask to be transferred to the Transportation Department secretary at extension 8710.  If you are calling before school begins, you may leave a voicemail in the building office and then transfer your call by pressing 8710.  If your call is received after 5:00 AM, it is likely a Transportation Department employee will answer the phone.  Otherwise, please leave a voicemail message for the Transportation Department.

What special training do bus drivers have?

Bus drivers must have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and chauffeur’s license with a school bus endorsement in order to drive a school bus.  This requires a rigorous training before the driver is certified.  In order to remain certified, the driver must complete a six-hour refresher course every two years.

Why are there no seat belts on a school bus?

Mattawan Consolidated School 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 of harm for 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.

Do bus drivers assign seats to children?

Drivers may elect to use various methods of creating an appropriate environment on the school bus.  Some drivers choose to assign seats at the beginning of the year in order to get to know the students.  Bus drivers may assign seats as a consequence of a behavior issue in order to monitor the more closely.

On the elementary school runs, some bus drivers have kindergarten through second-grade students sit near the front of the bus.  Third through fifth graders would then sit closer to the back of the bus.  Other drivers assign seats according to their schedule when students are picked up or dropped off.

Who maintains bus vehicle safety?

The Mattawan Consolidated School transportation department personnel take great pride in their work.  This may be witnessed by their outstanding bus inspection record.  All buses are inspected each year by the Michigan State Police.  Inspectors have awarded Mattawan an outstanding rating for the last twelve years.