New Law Mandates Special Needs Training for School Bus Drivers and Aides

November 10, 2015

School Bus

Bill Number: A1029/S274

Description: Requires training program for school bus drivers and school bus aides on interacting with students with special needs, and requires development and use of student information cards.

Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Dan Benson (D-14), Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-37), Senator Linda Greenstein (D-14), Senator Teresa Ruiz (D-29), and many other legislators was signed into law by Governor Christie on November 9, 2015. This new law requires special needs training for school bus drives and aides. The training content will include “appropriate behavior management, effective communication, use and operation of adaptive equipment, and understanding behaviors that may be related to specific disabilities.” The law also requires, upon parent consent, that school districts provide a “student information card” to bus drivers and aides assigned to each student.

“Children with special needs require specialized attention and care. Bus drivers and aides should be aware of behaviors associated with certain disabilities, and know how to effectively deal with them so to avoid any confusion and accidental mistreatment of these students,” said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “It makes their job easier and ensures that these students are being treated with the respect they deserve.”

Autism New Jersey supported this legislation and urged the Governor to sign into law. As families of children with autism know, a supportive school community can make a meaningful difference in their children’s lives. Yet, without specialized training to effectively respond to the needs of individuals with autism during their school commute, learning opportunities can be missed and behavioral challenges can be exacerbated. Educating school bus drivers and aides is essential to keeping all involved safe and a critical component of meeting students’ needs.

Thank Our Legislators

Does this bill make a difference to you? Thank the sponsors for making it happen!

  • Senator Linda R. Greenstein (D-14)
  • Senator Jeff Van Drew (D-1)
  • Senator M. Teresa Ruiz (D-29)
  • Senator Christopher J. Connors (R-9)
  • Assemblyman Daniel R. Benson (D-14)
  • Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-37)
  • Assemblywoman Mila M. Jasey (D-27)
  • Assemblywoman Cleopatra G. Tucker (D-28)
  • Assemblyman Benjie E. Wimberly (D-35)