115C-245. School bus drivers; monitors; safety assistants.

(a) Each local board, which elects to operate a school bus transportation system, shall employ the necessary drivers for such school buses. The drivers shall have all qualifications prescribed by the regulations of the State Board of Education herein provided for and must be at least 18 years old and have at least six months driving experience as a licensed operator of a motor vehicle before employment as a regular or substitute driver, but the selection and employment of each driver shall be made by the local board of education, and the driver shall be the employee of such local school administrative unit. Each local board of education shall assign the bus drivers employed by it to the respective schools within the jurisdiction of such board, and the superintendent or superintendent's designee shall assign the drivers to the school buses to be driven by them. No school bus shall at any time be driven or operated by any person other than the bus driver assigned to such bus except by the express direction of the superintendent or superintendent's designee or in accordance with rules and regulations of the appropriate local board of education.

(b) The driver of a school bus subject to the direction of the superintendent or superintendent's designee shall have complete authority over and responsibility for the operation of the bus and the maintaining of good order and conduct upon such bus, and shall report promptly to the principal any misconduct upon such bus or disregard or violation of the driver's instructions by any person riding upon such bus. The principal may take such action with reference to any such misconduct upon a school bus, or any violation of the instructions of the driver, as he might take if such misconduct or violation had occurred upon the grounds of the school.

(c) The driver of any school bus shall permit no person to ride upon such bus except pupils or school employees assigned thereto or persons permitted by the express direction of the superintendent or superintendent's designee to ride thereon.

(d) The superintendent or superintendent's designee may, in his discretion, appoint a monitor for any bus assigned to any school. It shall be the duty of such monitor, subject to the direction of the driver of the bus, to preserve order upon the bus and do such other things as may be appropriate for the safety of the pupils and employees assigned to such bus while boarding such bus, alighting therefrom or being transported thereon, and to require such pupils and employees to conform to the rules and regulations established by the local board of education for the safety of pupils and employees upon school buses. Such monitors shall be unpaid volunteers who shall serve at the pleasure of the superintendent or superintendent's designee.

(e) A local board of education may, in its discretion within funds available, employ transportation safety assistants upon recommendation of the principal through the superintendent. The safety assistants thus employed shall assist the bus drivers with the safety, movement, management, and care of children boarding the bus, leaving the bus, or being transported in it. The safety assistant should be either an adult or a certified student driver who is available as a substitute bus driver. (1955, c. 1372, art. 21, s. 6; 1979, c. 719, ss. 1-4; 1979, 2nd Sess., c. 1156; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 1987, c. 276; 1989, c. 558, s. 2; 1998-220, s. 4.)