Hello, I’m John Sander, Executive Director of Inclusive Education, and I’m Justin Dennison, Director of Transportation.
Justin: Today, we will discuss the proper procedures for student loading and unloading and the roles of school staff and bus drivers. The District is making a standard procedure for all based off of best practices. This information is important for Principals, Teachers, Para Educators, Nurses or anyone who assists students with the school bus.
Justin: In this video, we’re going to focus on safety Do’s and Don’ts as well as the role of parents and guardians. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts.
1. Do Inspect the wheelchair for damage prior to loading the wheelchair. Damaged wheelchairs cannot be transported on a school bus.
2. Do load wheelchairs onto the lift facing away from the bus.
3. Do tie down wheelchairs facing forward in the bus.
4. Do use designated tie down anchors if a wheel chair has them.
5. Inspect floor and shoulder straps for damage.
6. Clean floor securement tracks to keep them free of debris.
7. Add a name tag above the wheelchair station to help substitute drivers know the normal location for the student(s).
1. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted when loading a wheelchair.
2. Do not cross tie down straps in a ‘X’ position.
3. Don’t tie down a wheelchair above the seat area.
4. Don’t pull chairs by the foot rest. The foot rests are often held in place by fragile plastic clips that can break.
5. Don’t lift an electric wheelchair into place. This will likely cause an injury to you.
6. Don’t run straps through wheel spokes. This can cause damage.
7. Don’t untie a wheelchair until you are ready to load the student onto the lift. Untying too early can lead to a student entering the lift platform before you are ready.
8. Don’t untie an electric wheelchair partially. It must be all or none. If a student thinks you are finished and they start moving, it could cause the chair to tip backwards.
John: Parents and guardians are welcome and encouraged to help with the school bus loading and unloading process. Parents and guardians most commonly help by entering the bus with their student, guiding them to their seat and buckling the ‘Star Seat’ or seat belt. There are also times when a parent or guardian feel the need to help beyond what is expected.
Justin: Parents may be willing and able to operate the wheelchair lift but they are not permitted to operate school bus equipment for liability reasons. Parents may feel inclined to affix the wheelchair straps to the wheelchair. The driver is responsible for securing and tightening the straps. Remember that the safety of the students is your primary job.
John: At the Kent School District, safety is our number one priority for students and staff. We hope you find the video’s valuable to your safety training and appreciate your care for the students and families we all serve.
The Kent School District serves over 70 square miles of south King County including the cities of Kent, Covington, and portions of Auburn, Black Diamond, Maple Valley, Renton, and SeaTac. The District is one of the most diverse in the state and country with over 135 languages spoken by its students and is highly regarded for its excellent teaching corps, steadily improving academic achievement, commitment to all students, strong financial management, innovative classroom technology, and coordinated school safety.