Transportation Parent Handbook

  • This booklet has been prepared by the Renton School District Transportation Department for students, parents and/or guardians. It provides useful information concerning bus riding and walking procedures to and from school or bus stops, rules for students while riding a bus, and emergency procedures.

    Thank you for helping us make your child’s ride a safe and pleasant experience.

    Contact for Questions of Concerns
    Renton School Buses
    Renton Bus Drivers
    Eligibility to Ride a Bus
    Special Education

    Please direct questions or concerns to:

    Mike Ingham
    Director of Transportation Operations
    420 Park Avenue North
    Renton, Washington  98057
    Telephone:  425-204-4455

    General Information

    Renton School Buses

    Renton School District buses meet or exceed federal and state regulations and they are inspected annually by the State Patrol. Our buses have high-backed, energy-absorbing seats to provide compartmentalized protection giving students a confined, cushioned area. Tests have proven that children are safer in buses when sitting properly in these seats than in seat belts. Our buses are all of high-quality construction and maintained to provide the safest ride possible.

    Renton Bus Drivers

    All Renton School District bus drivers must complete a state-required training program, including classroom and behind-the-wheel training.  Drivers must submit to an FBI and WSP fingerprint background check, have a commercial driver’s license, a current first-aid/CPR card, and meet Federal Department of Transportation physical requirements.  They must pass pre-employment drug tests and submit to random drug and alcohol tests on a regular basis.  The school district provides additional mandatory and optional training workshops throughout the school year.

    Many students begin and end their day with a school bus ride. Student safety is the driver's primary concern. Proper loading, unloading, and enforcement of bus riding rules, are the driver's tools for safety.

    Eligibility to Ride a Bus

    The transportation department determines bus stops following guidelines and laws pertinent to safety and hazardous conditions in compliance with Renton School District’s Policy #6600, Washington Administrative Codes (WAC) and Revised Codes of Washington (RCW).

    Maximum walking distances are:
    1 mile radius
    Exceptions to the maximum distances may be applied when:

    • Student walking conditions meet guidelines of state hazardous walking conditions.
    • Student meets qualifications for special-needs children (maturity, age, physical or mental disability, etc.).

    Bus stops will be established to avoid travel on: roads not publicly maintained, gated communities, or private driveways/roads.

    Special Education

    Students who require special transportation will be picked up and dropped off as close to their home as is practicable, depending on their maturity, age, and disability. Special education students will be assigned to a regular route whenever possible.

    Bus Post Cards

    All students residing in the Renton School District will receive a post card in August regardless if they are a bus rider or not. Students eligible for transportation will be automatically assigned to their route. Students are recommended to carry their Post Cards and be prepared to present it to the bus driver upon request.

    Meeting the Bus in a Timely Manner

    Students must be waiting at their designated stop location five (5) minutes prior to the scheduled arrival of the bus. School and transportation schedules do not allow drivers to wait at a stop location for students to arrive.  School buses are scheduled to leave the stop at the listed route time.

    Similarly, any parent/guardian that elects to meet their student at the afternoon bus stop must be waiting at the bus stop location at least five (5) minutes prior to the scheduled drop off time. Drivers are not permitted to delay bus routes and cannot wait for a student’s parent/guardian.  School buses are scheduled to leave the stop at the listed route time.

    Parent Notification Requirement

    If your child is the only student picked up at a stop location, it is very important that you contact Transportation at 425-204-4455 if your child is staying home. If the driver attempts a pick-up for three (3) days, and the student is not there, the driver will not attempt a pick-up until Transportation is notified that the student needs transportation again.

    Bus Assignment

    Students must use the same bus assignment every day during the school year.To change an assigned bus and/or bus stop for the day, students must obtain a bus pass from the school office. If there is a permanent change for your student, please notify your school to obtain a bus assignment. Permanent changes may take up to five (5) school days to process.

    Rules for Students Riding School Buses

    Renton School District’s school-bus-conduct policy and rules are in accordance with Washington State WAC’s and RCW’s, all of which will be enforced whether or not they are included in the following regulations. These regulations are designed to assure every student safe transportation to and from school and school-sponsored activities. Violation of these rules may be sufficient reason to discontinue bus transportation privileges for the student involved. 

    1. The driver is in full charge of the bus and students and must be obeyed. Disrespect, defiant conduct, or obscene language or gestures directed toward the driver, may result in the student’s suspension or expulsion from the bus.
    2. When a certificated staff member or volunteer is assigned to accompany students on a bus, that person shall be primarily responsible for the behavior of the students. However, the bus driver shall have final authority and responsibility.
    3. A student may be assigned a seat temporarily, or permanently, at the driver’s discretion.
    4. Students shall ride their regularly assigned bus: Elementary/Secondary principals may grant a temporary daily permission pass for a student to ride a different bus, use a different stop, or allow a temporary bus assignment for a non-rider, as long as it will not cause standees on the bus.  The permission slip must be signed or stamped by the school office.
    5. When requested by the driver, students must identify themselves. For safety and security reasons, grade 6-12 students may be refused service if they do not show their Post Card, or give their name, upon request.
    6. Students must arrive at the bus stop five minutes prior to bus arrival time and wait in a safe and orderly manner, out of the roadway and off private property. Students must not approach the bus until it has come to a full stop and the door is opened.
    7. Students must enter and leave the bus in an orderly manner in view of the driver. If they must cross the road, they must do so in front of the bus, never behind the bus. The driver will indicate when it is safe to proceed.
    8. Emergency regulations are mandated by the state and must be strictly adhered to: In the event of an emergency, students must follow emergency exit procedures as established by the emergency exit drills.  When the bus stops at a railroad crossing, there must be absolutely no noise.
    9. Students are to remain seated facing the front of the bus with their backs against the seat while it is in motion. They may talk in a low, conversational tone.
    10. No student shall at any time extend head, hands, or arms out of the windows, whether the school bus is in motion or standing still.
    11. Students will refrain from excessive noise, boisterous behavior, fighting, vulgar or obscene language or gestures, racial or sexual harassment and bullying.
    12. Students must not have anything in their possession that might cause injury to another person (e.g.: sticks, breakable containers, knives, laser pointers, scooters, skateboards, large musical instruments, or any type of firearms or fireworks.) No live animals, reptile, fish, or fowl is permitted on the bus, except service dogs with prior authorization. 
    13. Smoking, chewing, or spitting of tobacco, e-cigarettes or related products or use of any type of flame or sparking device on the school bus is prohibited. No illegal substances or alcoholic materials or their paraphernalia are allowed on school buses.
    14. Students must maintain clean bus interiors by keeping trash off the floor. Students will not throw refuse out the windows. Eating on a school bus is not permissible except when specifically authorized by the bus driver and supervised by school district personnel.
    15. Aisles must be kept clear. Personal belongings, such as books, instruments, projects, etc. must be held on a student’s lap. Large items which cannot be held in the student's lap will not be transported on the school bus.
    16. Per state regulations, no student shall sit in the driver's seat nor activate any control or safety device.

    Any violation of these rules may be sufficient reason to discontinue bus-transportation privileges to the student involved and could possibly result in suspension or expulsion from school as well as criminal charges.


    Discipline Procedures

    Discipline procedures are designed to assure every student's safe transportation to and from school and school-sponsored activities. Violations of the rules on a bus, at a bus stop, or at a loading area, may be sufficient reason to discontinue bus transportation privileges.

    Drivers must deal with those riders who threaten the safety of themselves or other students, or behave in a way that will distract the driver. Renton School District staff will attempt to find a way to alleviate the problem. Should the discipline problem continue, the driver will issue the student a Bus Incident Report.

    Bus Incident Reports must be signed and returned to the driver the next day. Students in grades 6-12 will be denied bus-riding privileges until the report is signed and returned. Parents/guardians will be notified by mail or telephone prior to any service suspension.

    Buses are provided with continuous-operation video and audio cameras for the purpose of safety and assisting the driver in student management. Discipline sanctions can be imposed based on video and audio camera evidence.

    School Bus Incident Report Form

    Emergency Information

    Emergency Exit Drills

    All transported students must participate in emergency exit drills. Two actual drills on school property are required annually. One verbal drill is also required.

    The drivers are responsible for training the students and conducting the drills. To be prepared for an actual emergency, each child is encouraged to exit the bus without the aid of the bus driver. The students are instructed how to use the emergency exits, seek help, find a safe location away from the bus, and locate and use emergency equipment.

    Bus evacuation

    Non-Weather Emergencies

    Occasionally, a bus route cannot be run on its normal schedule due to an emergency other than weather. Due to the extreme unpredictability of non-weather emergencies and natural disasters, no plan can be all inclusive. Therefore, drivers are trained to use self-control and good judgment. Parents should encourage their children to remain calm and know that the driver will put the passengers' safety above all else.

    When a route (to or from school) is interrupted by such things as road construction, traffic accidents, earthquake, etc., communications may be difficult and slow. Be assured that students will be left in a safe location with adult supervision or where it is reasonable to assume they can safely reach their home or school.

    There are options that both parents and students need to know.

    Parents should instruct children where to go and what to do if a parent is not at the bus stop or at home. Also, students who indicate to the driver that they are frightened or confused will not be forced off the bus in an unfamiliar area. Parents should instruct children where to go and what to do if a parent is not at the stop or at home. Please make arrangements with an older child or neighbor for supervision in the event of an emergency.

    Safety is our first consideration. Prepare your children for the unexpected. Develop an emergency plan for your family to cover unscheduled situations.

    Weather Emergencies

    Informational bulletins for emergency weather conditions are distributed annually to all Renton School District bus riders. Refer to the Renton School District website for Emergency Stop locations. During inclement weather check radio and television stations for up-to-the-minute school district schedules. Monitor these stations for changes in school hours or bus service. Or, if you prefer, go to for the latest updates.

    During severe weather, please be sure your child is dressed properly in case of unexpected traffic problems, late-arriving buses, or the need to walk to or from a different stop location.

    Remember, if limited transportation is provided due to weather conditions in the morning, students will be dropped off at the same location in the afternoon.

    Again, be assured that no student will be forced to leave the bus if he/she appears to be confused or frightened. Generally, drivers will contact our dispatch and the student will be returned to their school or to the transportation office. Every attempt will be made to contact the parent. Please be certain you have good contact telephone numbers for us!