Cook County Transportation Making A Difference

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Beginning the 2022-2023 school year hand written notes will no longer be accepted by school bus drivers.  All transportation changes must be verified by the front office at each school and a form will be completed to give to the drivers.
  • School buses are the safest form of highway transportation.
  • The most dangerous part of the school bus ride is getting on and off the bus.
  • Pedestrian fatalities (while loading and unloading school buses) account for approximately three times as many school bus-related fatalities, when compared to school bus occupant fatalities.
  • The loading and unloading area is called the Danger Zone.
  • The Danger Zone is the area on all sides of the bus where children are in the most danger of not being seen by the driver (ten feet in front of the bus where the driver may be too high to see a child, ten feet on either side of the bus where a child may be in the driver's blind spot, and the area ten feet behind the bus).

Transportation Policies and Procedures

The Cook County School District picks up and delivers over 3200 students on a daily basis. It is essential students conduct themselves properly and not interfere with their safe and efficient transport. To insure that proper conduct is observed while riding the school buses, certain discipline policies and procedures have been adopted and approved by the School Board. 

This bus discipline procedure provides the student with a chance to correct his/ her own behavior and a chance for the parent/guardian to aid in the correction of the problem. If these two means fail, the school principal or designee may be obliged to remove the student from the bus in order to help protect the other passengers. The bus drivers have been trained in an assertive approach to discipline and are responsible for maintaining day-to-day discipline on their buses. They have been authorized to make student seat assignments on the bus to assist in discipline, to curb vandalism and promote bus safety. However, the final responsibility of administering the district discipline policy for bus-related problems rests with the school principal and/or designee where the student attends. Reports of misconduct are investigated and discipline is administered based on the severity and/or frequency of the incident.

As parents, you are an important part of a total safety program for children who travel by school bus.  Children need to learn to be safe pedestrians as they walk to and from the bus as well as to be safe riders when they are on the bus.
Here's how you can help:

Getting Ready for School

Have your children put everything they carry in a backpack or school bag so that they won't drop things along the way.

Have them wear bright, contrasting colors so drivers will more easily see them.

Make sure they leave home on time so they can walk to the bus stop and arrive before the bus is due. Running can be dangerous.

Walking to the Bus Stop

Go to the bus stop with a young child and have older children walk in groups. There is safety in numbers; groups are easier for drivers to see.

Don't let pre-school children or pets go with your child to the bus stop. They can be in danger, near traffic.

Practice good pedestrian behavior. 


Walk on the Sidewalk

If there is not a sidewalk, stay out of the street. Walk on the shoulder or grass.

If you must walk in the street, walk single file, face traffic and stay as close to the edge of the road as possible.

Stop and look left, right, and then left again if you must cross the street.  Do the same thing at driveways and alleyways.

Exaggerate your head turns and narrate your actions, so your child knows you are looking left, right, and left.


At the Bus Stop

Don't let your child play running games or push and shove at the bus stop. It is too dangerous near traffic.

Make sure your child stands at least 10 feet (5 giant steps) from the road while waiting for the bus. The child will then be out of the way of traffic. Have younger children practice taking 5 giant steps to become familiar with 10 feet.

Getting On and Off the Bus 

Make children stay at least 10 ft. away from the bus until they begin to enter. This will allow children to see the driver and vice versa.

If children must cross the street to the bus they should cross the street 10 feet (5 giant steps) in front of the bus where they can see the driver and the driver can see them.

Warn the children that, if they drop something, they should never pick it up. Instead, they should tell the driver and follow the driver's instructions. If they bend over to pick up a dropped object, they might not be seen by the driver and could be hurt if the driver pulls away from the stop.

Remind children to look to the right before they step off the bus. Drivers in a hurry sometimes try to sneak by busses on the right.

Teach your children to secure loose drawstrings and other objects that may get caught in the handrail or door of the bus as they are exiting.

Give your child a note or follow your school's procedures if you would like for the child to get off at a stop other than the one they are assigned. The driver isn't allowed to let a child off at another stop without written permission.

If you meet your child at the bus stop after school, wait on the side where the child will be dropped off, not across the street.  Children can be so excited at seeing you after school that they dash across the street and forget the safety rules.

Riding the Bus

Remind your children to be good bus riders. They should:

Talk quietly.

Be courteous to the driver and follow the driver's directions.

Keep the aisles clear.

Stay seated, facing the front for the entire bus ride.

Only lap-sized items are permitted on the bus (such as book bags)

**Musical instruments or other equipment can be a hazard

in an unexpected situation**

Be sure not to eat or drink on the bus (this may lead to a choking hazard)

We want your children to be safe when they travel to and from school!

As you help us with the above rules, we hope you will see that school bus safety begins at home.


Transportation Guidelines

(Items carried onto buses)

At no time are carry on items to extend into the aisle, be packed higher than a seat back, be packed in a fashion that will allow the item to become a projectile or cause damage to the bus in any way.

(Forbidden Items)

Any firearms, flammable liquids, or any other weapons or explosives

Any pets, animals or any other living creature

Any pointed items unless carried in a closed container

Any school project that cannot be held in a student's lap

Any large musical instruments (tuba, baritone and tenor saxophones,  French horn, cello, guitar, drums)

Electronic Devices of any kind that may interfere with communication of Bus while on route to & from School and School acitvities

Extra-large athletic bags including catcher's equipment bags, and goalie bags

Glass containers, bottles, balloons, or fragile items

Visible cell phones

Any other items not mentioned above that, after inspection,

are deemed inappropriate for safety reasons

Any Tobacco Products & Other related items , lighters etc.

(Appropriate Items)

(if not stored on student's lap, student must be seated by window not blocking an exit and item must be against the window in an upright position)

Musical instruments (exceptions noted above)

Athletic equipment bags (exceptions noted above)

Athletic equipment including  (all athletic equipment should be transported in an equipment bag - for example, baseball bats, field hockey sticks, etc.)

Student projects (When held on student's lap)

Important Note to Guidelines: 

The ability of the student to maneuver to exit the bus in various situations may be determined by ridership, age of the child, and items the student carries. For example, a third grade student with a large backpack may create an unsafe situation if one of the above items were carried on the bus in addition to the backpack. Therefore, for elementary students, the above guidelines are based on the individual situation and subject to change.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why are there no seat belts on school buses?

A: On school buses, occupant protection is provided by "compartmentalization," not safety belts. Compartmentalization is the name for the protective envelope created by strong, closely-spaced seats that have energy-absorbing high seat backs that protect occupants in the event of a crash.


Q: My child's bus driver won't let him eat on the bus. Why?

A: Students are not permitted to have food, candy or drinks on the bus. This rule is in affect for the safety and welfare of the children. The food, candy, and drinks are choking hazards. We understand some children are diabetic or have other health issues requiring he / she to have food and / or a drink available. 


Q: Can my child be dropped off at his day care?

A. Transportation to or from your ‘everyday' Day Care provider or Baby Sitter is permitted. The parent or guardian must complete a Day Care Transportation sheet and provide a copy for the school and for the bus driver. Forms are available in all school offices.