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Dear Families of Students in Grades 7-12:
I am writing to let you know about some changes to bus transportation procedures we are making to address misbehavior by students. First, I want to emphasize that the majority of our students behave properly. They demonstrate respect for themselves, their classmates, and adults at school and in the community.
Unfortunately, some students are engaging in conduct that is unacceptable. They are misusing the bus system to "hang out" after school at the Liberty Pole or along Main Street. Some have engaged in fighting and unruly behavior-actions that threaten the safety and well-being of other students, along with the people who work or visit downtown. This reflects poorly on our District and unfairly tarnishes the image of the large majority of students who are well-behaved.
To address the immediate problem, I have assigned safety personnel from our schools to monitor student behavior downtown at bus transfer times. This is a stop-gap solution. It robs our schools of resources we should be spending on classroom instruction, activities that engage students, and services that support them.
So, working with the Regional Transit Service, we are making other changes that take effect this week.
- Students with orange passes can use their passes only on express bus routes, and only in the morning or at school dismissal. Orange passes will not be valid at other bus stops or other times, including weekends.
- Students with gray passes who transfer buses can only use their passes in the morning and until 5 p.m.
- To transfer buses, students must request a connection pass when they board their first bus, near home in the morning or at school dismissal. The connection pass will expire after 60 minutes.
- Any student who needs transportation for after-school activities must obtain a special pass from their school.
We are requiring more students to take express bus service, and strictly limiting access to special passes that can be used outside school. Students will receive more information this week from their school and from RTS.
I am attaching to this letter a summary of student discipline procedures, which can apply to behavior in schools or outside of school. I firmly believe that poor student behavior is the issue we must ultimately address. However, the misuse of bus privileges is a contributing factor that we must deal with immediately.
I want all of our students to have access to the same opportunities that middle-class families take for granted. That includes the opportunity to travel easily, taking advantage of extra-curricular activities and community resources. With regret, I am forced take these steps until our students, as a group, earn more privileges through improved behavior.
Superintendent of Schools