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Special Education/Bus safety and ADHD child


A child displaying inappropriate behavior (kicking, spitting, hitting, screaming, etc.) has been placed on a bus carrying children 3-5 years of age. The child has been diagnosed as ADHD and the family believes that it is against the law for the child to be removed from the bus. This is not a bus for disabled children and the driver and monitors have no training dealing with inappropriate behavior. Can this child be removed from the bus legally?

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Hi Nikki,

THANK YOU so much for asking me the question about what can be done for a child having difficulty on the school bus, and being removed from the bus due to behavioral difficulties.  

I am going to assume in my answer that the child having the difficulty on the bus is the same age and not much older than the 3-5 year olds on the bus. You also don't say if this child has an IEP.  If the child has an IEP, or the school should know that the child needs an IEP (the child is suspected of needing an IEP), he is protected under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.  Under IDEA, a team determines the services a child needs to receive a free appropriate public education and to make progress.  

Transportation is a definite related service, and the school team should consider whether the child needs special education transportation, services on the bus such as an aide, and other services such as training for staff on the bus.  I have seen schools suspend a child from the bus which obviously prevents the child from participating at school, unless the parent drives the child, in which case the parent may be entitled to reimbursement for mileage.  A child with ADHD may have trouble with inhibition, the environmental stimulation on the bus, peer relationships, following directions, and impulsivity.  

In this situation, I would make the case that the child needs a functional behavior assessment and behavior intervention plan, which specifically targets the bus behavior, and provides intervention for it.  Perhaps the child needs sensory or behavior interventions.  Or perhaps the child needs special transportation and cannot participate with peers without disabilities on the bus.  Here is a nice site about positive behavior intervention and supports:

Also my Book, School Success for Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders has a whole chapter on FBA and another on BIPs:

Sometimes it can be difficult for parents to bring together the school district to address transportation issues.  This is because transportation is so expensive and providing individualized transportation can open up the door for other families requesting it.  But if the IEP and BIP address the behaviors seen on the bus, then the behaviors are directly and substantially related to the child's disability.  When the behaviors are a manifestation of the disability, the child should not be penalized and the school should put into place what is needed for success on the bus, and in school.

Thank you again for using this site and reaching out to me for this important question.  I hope my answer was on target and provided you with the information you need.  If not please feel free to follow up with me, and please consider taking the time to rate my response.  Thanks so much and I wish you all the best as you ADVOCATE for this child!  

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Michelle R. Davis, M. Ed.


I can answer questions about disability definitions and criteria for services, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004, No Child Left Behind, 504 plans, how to craft an IEP that drives the appropriate services, school placement, dispute options, and least restrictive environment. I worked in the public school system as a special educator and am now in private consulting practice where we assist parents as they navigate the special education process. I have expertise in all educational disabilities except blind/visual impairments and deaf/hard of hearing. This includes ADHD and other health impairments, medical conditions, dyslexia and learning disabilities, Autism, emotional disabilities, language processing problems, and interfering behaviors.


10 years as special educator and administrator in public school system; Director of ABCs for Life Success since 1998; Expert services such as analysis and testimony; Author: Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book: What you can do now to advocate for your exceptional child's education; Special Needs Advocacy Training Institute; internet radio show Teach Your Children Well: Hot Topics in Education; author School Success for Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders released March 2010 (Prufrock Press).

Masters in Special Education with Emphasis on Inclusive Education (Johns Hopkins University); Special Education (James Madison University); Conduct training for Universities, public and private schools, parent groups. Adjunct professor current George Washington University and prior George Mason University.

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