Barrow County School System
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding School Bus
Barrow County Public Schools Transportation Department receives
as many as 100 phone calls daily. Here is a list of FREQUENTLY
ASKED QUESTIONS to assist you with answers to the most
commonly asked questions.
Special Needs Transportation
Why is my child's bus late?
Weather, traffic, driver absenteeism, maintenance difficulties, and unforeseen incidents are responsible for delays in the arrival of school buses in the morning and afternoon; and
Please know that we are doing everything humanly possible to have all buses running on schedule everyday. In the event that your bus does not arrive as scheduled, please allow ten to thirty minutes before calling the transportation office or the school. Top of page
Why did you suspend my child from riding the bus?
A: Behavioral expectations on the school bus are much like those in the classroom. Then, factor in the mobility of that "classroom" and traffic, added noise and the size of the "classroom" and you have a potential catastrophe if there are not clear expectations and enforcement. The behavioral expectations on the bus revolve around the individual rights of every person on the bus, including the driver and the collective rights of students and driver as it pertains to SAFETY. Anything that jeopardizes the safety of individuals on the bus is viewed as serious.
Most drivers have Bus rules or Expectations posted on the bus. When there is an infraction, a referral is turned into the school administrators, who are responsible for contacting the student and parent to solve the lack of compliance with bus expectations. The school administrator is solely responsible for consequences based on the incident as described by the driver and student. Most buses have video cameras, which are used to verify incidents. Our goal is never to deny any student transportation to and from school, but we must maintain safety for all students. Top of page
Why can't you call when you know the bus will be late?
A: It is simply a numbers problem. There are as many 50-70 students on each bus. That is at least 50-70 phone calls in a short time frame to parents who are quite possibly at the bus stop with their children. It is just not feasible. Please know that there is a bus on the way and that we will do everything humanly possible to transport your child to and from school in a timely manner every day. If your scheduled bus is more than ten minutes late; please allow for the time that it requires for the route to be driven as a second load. Top of page
Why can't you come further into my subdivision?
A: School buses come in various sizes ranging from 25 to 36 feet long, 20,000-26,000 pounds, 12-13 feet high and 6-9 feet wide. The length is what limits the school bus to be maneuvered in cu-de-sacs and tight places. Smaller buses can turn in a shorter radius, while longer buses cannot maneuver the same circle without backing the bus, which is avoided in routing if possible. Residents sometimes park trucks, boats, and trailers on the streets. Children leave their bicycles, skateboards, and basketball backboards on the streets. Although our drivers are trained to parallel park their bus, some subdivisions are not designed with school bus transportation in mind. Please know that we will design school bus routes to be safe and convenient to the majority of students within the limits of time and physics. Top of page
Why does my child have a seat assignment?
A: Seat assignments are a positive way for the ride to be consistent and safe. It is also our policy for elementary and middle school students to be assigned to a specific seat. This aids the driver with discipline and learning each student's names at the beginning of the school year. We trust our drivers to let us know when this policy is no longer effective. Top of page
Why can't my child get off wherever they want in the afternoon?
A: To avoid multiple problems, the driver requires a note, signed by the parent and school administrator to alter the destination of students. This allows the drivers to focus on driving and safety instead of having to decide whether the student should be allowed to change their routine and get off with a friend or ride to an entirely different neighborhood. This should be the decision of the parent. The driver has no other way to verify that the parent has made this decision. This policy avoids confusion and the chance of students getting lost or running away. Top of page
How do you decide when it is too dangerous for school buses to transport students to school due to inclement weather? Who decides? How is the public notified?
A: The Superintendent of schools is responsible for the final decision to close schools due to inclement weather. The decision is made after administrative staff report from various positions in the county regarding road conditions. Other factors considered are school facility information (heat, water, power), school parking lot conditions, temperature and wind chill, snow and ice build up on main and secondary roads and weather forecasts and predictions. A decision will be made and the public will be notified by 5:30 AM. The following media sites will carry that information to the public:
AM 1300 WIMO
AM 680 WCNN
AM 750 WSB
FM 95.5 The Beat
FM 97.1 JAMZ
AM 640 WGST
Channel 5- WAGA
Channel 11 WXIA
Channel 12 WBTV
Channel 46 WGCL
If the schools close during the day, the students will be sent home on their regular bus or daycare van unless other directions are on file at the student's school. IT WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE TO ACCEPT PHONED IN DIRECTIONS THAT DAY UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES. Please give your child's school written instructions regarding inclement weather transportation ASAP. Top of page
Why are there only 30 students riding some buses and my child's bus is crowded?
A: Decisions regarding each bus route are made by careful planning based on information from the school registration, previous similar routes, and Department of Transportation data. Most routes are fixed during the summer months and changes are made after the first two weeks of school, if not sooner. The more current information we are given, the better decisions regarding specific routes we can make. Distance from school, number of buses and drivers, and grouping of students and neighborhoods are factors considered also. Sometimes it is just not possible to have the exact number of students on every run. State and National guidelines allow for up to 20% over capacity seating. Our guidelines are as follows: Top of page
Barrow County’s Bus Passenger Seating Guidelines
Bus Seat Capacity Grades K-6
66 Seat Bus - 66 Students
72 Seat Bus - 71 Students
Bus Seat Capacity Grades 7-12
66 Seat Bus - 49 Students
72 Seat Bus - 54 Students
What is a zero tolerance policy?
A: Zero Tolerance means that when a discipline infraction occurs under the policy, the student is subject to a mandated suspension with NO exceptions. Specific zero tolerance infractions, which include drug, weapons, alcohol, tobacco, and bullying, and the suspension designated for each offense are listed in the Barrow County School System policy manual. This information is also available in local school handbooks, student folders, and the district web site at www.barrow.k12.ga.us. Top of page
How can I become a school bus driver?
A: We are always looking for good drivers to train to become school bus drivers. We frequently offer training classes to obtain your Commercial Driver's License. For more information, please visit our Employment Opportunities page.
In the event that you have any additional questions please contact our transportation office at 770-867-2783.. Top of page.
Special Needs Transportation
How can I receive transportation for my special needs child?
A: A committee of people already involved in a student's education determines transportation needs. After it has been determined that the student would benefit from being transported apart from the mainstreamed students, the teacher will complete and send a special needs transportation request to our office for processing. Top of page
How long does it take to set up transportation for my special needs child?
A: Three to five (3-5) days are needed to obtain all emergency information, process routing information, contact drivers and communicate with parents and other professionals involved. Top of page
What is the average time length of the ride for special needs students?
A: Our goal, for students within the Barrow County School System, is no more than one hour. Top of page
Why can't last minute changes be granted?
A: SAFETY is our main goal and concern. Changes may be granted for consistent schedules within the child's regular route.
Top of page
Why can't my regular education child ride the same bus with my special needs child?
A: Special needs transportation is granted in accordance with a student's needs as a related service to the IEP (Individualized Education Plan). Students who receive an education without an IEP are provided transportation through conventional means. Top of page
Can I reach someone in the Transportation Department before 8 AM?
A: Yes, our Dispatcher is available from 6:00 AM to 9:30 AM and 12:30 PM to 4:30 PM by phone at
770-867-2783. Top of page
“Ongoing driver education contributes to a well trained professional driver”
179 West Athens St., Winder, GA 30680 | 770-867-4527 | Fax: 770-867-4540 | Contact Webmaster
The Barrow County School System is a Charter System and Pre-K-12 Research District