Can students be kicked off a JCPS bus?

Discipline - and a lack of consequences - was one of the things that came up the most during last night’s JCPS Board meeting.
Published: Aug. 16, 2023 at 5:19 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 16, 2023 at 5:29 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – Discipline - and a lack of consequences - was one of the things that came up the most during last night’s JCPS Board meeting. But what is supposed to happen when a student misbehaves on a bus?

JCPS policy has its own set of rules, though bus drivers have told WAVE News they don’t seem to follow them.

The most recent data available from the state is from the 2021-2022 school year. That year, JCPS had 1,483 behavior incidents on a bus. The state’s website does not include what kind of discipline was handed out in result.

Aside from the years in which school was not in full session because of COVID, there were 2,091 bus behavior incidents in 2018-2019, and 2,366 in 2017-2018.

JCPS’s rules say kids can get in trouble for how they act on a bus. According to the district’s Student Support and Behavior Intervention Handbook, students are expected to follow the same rules on the bus that they are on school property or at school events. Bus stops and during their way to and from those stops are included too.

Students can be suspended from riding a bus, or they can be moved to an alternative school. Bus suspensions can also be long-term, but a principal must ask for permission for any suspension longer than five days. Some of those long-term suspensions would be for things like assault, threatening someone or having any type of a weapon, the district spells out.

If a principal wants to suspend a student from the bus for 6-to-10-days, they must make a special request which then has to be approved by a zone assistant superintendent.

If the suspension is between 11 and 20 days, the principal has to get special permission again. This time it would involve layers of other administrators from Culture and Climate to the Transportation Department.

Any longer-term suspensions, including appeals, must go through another approval process.

Bad student behavior is something bus drivers have said is at the root of the problem. Bus drivers can and do write referrals. WAVE News has requested those numbers from the district. WAVE News has also asked JCPS how many students they’ve kicked off a bus, suspended, permanently removed, or transferred.

But while students can be suspended off the bus or class, it is JCPS’s policy to not expel any student for any reason. That’s including students who have brought a gun to school.