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Special Education Transportation Overview

Special Education Transportation Overview

Dear SMUHSD Parents/Guardians:

The San Mateo Union High School District’s Transportation Department has prepared this information page to acquaint you with the rules and regulations covering your child's school transportation. Our ongoing goal is to provide the safest, most reliable transportation service possible for your child. 

Please read this information to familiarize yourself with the guidelines and procedures for transportation. Your cooperation is needed to ensure reliable, safe and efficient school bus service. Under most conditions, special education students are transported from their door to school and back. All transportation services are during the student's school day. Services have been expanded to allow for pickups and drop offs at daycare providers. With the exception of therapy, all alternate addresses must be approved by the Director of Special Education and the Executive Transportation Officer. 

Unless physically impossible for the bus, the stop will be in front of and on the same side of the street as the student's address. Pick up or release of a rider will not be made in any area determined to be unsafe. Safety always takes precedence over other criteria. 

Each child is assigned to a definite bus route and may be assigned to a particular seat. State law requires that no child be permitted to leave the bus at a point other than his/her assigned stop. Parents or guardians must not make private arrangements with the bus driver. All changes must be cleared through the Director of Special Education and the Executive Transportation Officer. 

Drivers must follow established routes. They may not make changes in these routes unless authorized by the transportation office or their dispatch office. 

Prior to the beginning of each school year, parents/guardians will be notified of their child's pick up and drop off schedules. Buses, routes and times may need to be changed throughout the school year to accommodate new students. Parents/guardians will be notified of time changes of more than ten (10) minutes. Buses may run late during days of unfavorable conditions such as unforeseen traffic and adverse weather. 

Pickup Procedures

You are required to have the child ready for pick up five (5) minutes prior to the scheduled departure time. (There is a Motor Vehicles regulation prohibiting drivers from honking their horns except in a driving emergency.)  

  • At student pick-up time, the student’s parent or guardian will bring their student to the bus.  
  • The student must wear a mask or face covering to enter the bus and, to the best of their ability, keep it on at all times during the bus ride.  
  • Buses operate on a definite schedule in order for classes to start on time.  
  • Buses will not depart from a stop prior to the designated pick up time.  
  • The bus driver may not leave the bus except to operate the lift gate for students in wheelchairs. It is the bus driver's responsibility to load and unload the students and to ensure that the wheelchairs are secured and all seat belts are fastened.  
  • A bus will not be sent back to pick up a child who was not ready on time. 

Drop Off Procedures

The parent/guardian or care provider must be at the assigned stop to receive the student when delivered by the bus driver. Students may not be left unattended at drop off, unless otherwise authorized by the parents. And no student will be permitted to leave the bus at any point other than the assigned stop. If there is an emergency and the designated adult is unable to meet the bus, arrangements must be made for another adult to be there when the bus arrives. If the parent/guardian feels that the student does not need to be met by an adult, this must be authorized on the form titled "Transportation Emergency Information" (see below). 

In the event that no responsible adult is available to meet the student at the designated drop off point, and there is no authorization on file to drop the student off unattended, the following procedure will be observed: 

The bus driver will notify the dispatcher by radio immediately and, if other students are on board, continue the route. This can take up to two hours or more. The transportation office will make every attempt to locate a parent/guardian or an alternate drop off point using the information provided on the "Transportation Emergency Information" form. At the completion of the route, if no responsible adult has been located, the student will be delivered to the Police Department or the Sheriff's Office. 

Consistent failure to meet the bus is cause to suspend transportation service.

Emergency Information Form

In order to keep emergency information on each child as current as possible, parents/guardians will be required to complete this Student Transportation Plan form at the beginning of each school year. The transportation office will provide the form to the parents/guardians along with their child's bus schedule prior to the start of the school year. The completed form can then be mailed to transportation or given to the child's bus driver. The transportation office must receive the emergency form ten (10) days prior to commencing transportation service.

Changes That Affect Your Child’s Transportation

If you move or make any changes that will affect your child's transportation during the school year, you must immediately notify the Office of Student Services and the Office of Special Education. Families are required to come into the Office of Student Services and into the Office of Special Education to complete a change of address immediately after they have relocated. 

Once you provide Student Services and the Office of Special Education with the new information, the Office of Special Education will forward the information to the transportation department. Transportation will assign your child to a bus route and you will be notified of the new pick-up and return times. 

Please Note: Transportation employees cannot accept changes of address from parents/guardians nor will the Transportation Department process these requests. All Change of Address forms must be submitted to and processed by the Department of Special Education. 

Safety Rules

Please discuss the following passenger safety rules with your child: 

  1. Students may be assigned to a particular seat
  2. Students must remain seated at all times when the bus is in motion. 
  3. Seat belts are to be worn at all times 
  4. For safety purposes, conversations and singing need to be kept within reasonable limits. 
  5. Hands, arms, legs and feet must be inside the school bus at all times. 
  6. No foul or abusive language is to be used. 
  7. Eating or drinking is not permitted on the school bus. 
  8. No items may be brought aboard the bus that could be hazardous to other passengers. 
    • Example - large toys, glass, straight or safety pins, insects, animals (with the exception of seeing eye dogs and canine companions), plastic bags, knives, skateboards, bowling balls, weapons of any kind, irritants and objects too large to hold safely on the lap. 
  9. Smoking is against the law on the school bus. 
  10. Fighting, pinching, hitting, biting, spitting, etc. will not be permitted. 
  11. Vandalism to the interior or exterior of the bus is prohibited. 
  12. Be courteous, respectful and obedient to the driver at all times. 

Please be aware; all activities are being monitored by video camera. 

Bus Suspension Policy

The bus driver has the authority to recommend the suspension of students for disruptive and/or dangerous behavior, including, but not limited to, infractions of the bus rules. Any student may receive the maximum suspension and/or be denied bus transportation if it is determined that he/she created a safety hazard on the bus. The principal of the student's program along with the Executive Transportation Officer will make the determination of the suspension. 

Citations will be issued for serious or chronic violations of the bus rules. Prior to the issuance of the citation, the driver has repeatedly warned the student verbally, and in most cases will have notified the parent/guardian and teacher. In each instance, the student, principal and parent/guardian will get a copy of the citation.

Recommended Administration Procedures

Note: Only the Principal Program Operator and the Executive Transportation Officer have the authority to suspend transportation services. 

1st Violation: Verbal notification, driver informs teacher

Action: _____________________________________   Date: _________________

2nd Citation: Citation to teacher, copy to principal, notice sent to parent/guardian. A behavior management plan is recommended. 

Action: _____________________________________   Date: _________________

3rd Citation: Student suspended for one to five school days

Action: _____________________________________   Date: _________________

This process will be followed except when the circumstances and/or the severity of the misbehavior warrant emergency action.


The California Civil Code, Section 1 714.1 states: "Any act of willful misconduct of a minor which results in injury or death of another person or in any injury to the property of another shall be imputed to the parent or guardian having custody or control of the minor for all purposes of civil damages, and such parent or guardian having custody or control shall be jointly and severely liable with such minor for any damages resulting from such willful misconduct up to a maximum of $10,000." 

Illness, Medication and Personal Hygiene

Please notify the Transportation Department at least one hour prior to the pickup time whenever you are not sending your child to school. You may leave a phone message or email message with one of the following employees. Please provide your child’s last name, first name and date(s) of absence. 

Martina Hernandez

Please do not send even a mildly ill child to school because he/she may become acutely ill on the bus. In fairness to your child and other children, keep a sick child at home. Most doctors recommend that children be free of fever for at least 24 hours before sending them back to school.

If a child becomes ill at school, the parent will be asked to transport the child home. After three (3) consecutive days of a student not riding the school bus, the bus service will be discontinued until the parent/guardian calls the Transportation Department to restart the service. Reinstatement of transportation services may take up to (5) work days. 

If you drive your child to school, you will need to call the Transportation Department to let them know he/she needs a ride home.

Medication: Transportation employees are not permitted to handle your child’s medication. Do not place any medication among the child's personal belongings. 

Personal Hygiene: For the comfort of the other people on the bus, it is important to maintain adequate standards of hygiene. Please be sure to toilet children before they board the bus. If your child has a problem in this area, please be sure to supply the school with a change of clothes and a bag for transporting them in. 

Emergency Medical Information: Please notify the school Health Aide and transportation office of any medical conditions (seizures, asthma, allergy to bee stings, etc.) your child may suffer from. 

Service or Recommendation

The San Mateo Union High School District is committed to providing the finest quality school transportation service to you and your child. For any service related questions, please contact our dispatcher directly at 650-558-2446. Please be prepared to give your child's name, bus route and state the nature of your concern.

Transportation Department Contacts
991 East Poplar Avenue
San Mateo, CA 94401

Kelly Hubbard
Executive Transportation Officer
Fax: 650-685-5521

Delvonne Dozier
Transportation Coordinator
Fax: 650-685-5521

Martina Hernandez
Fax: 650-685-5521