Previous Research

Although limited, some international research has been conducted on the issue of bullying on the school bus, and on the journey to and from school more broadly. Studies are listed by year of publication (newest publications at the top of the page). We’ll regularly update this page, if you would like to share your own research please get in touch.


Hendrix, J. A., Kennedy, E. K., & Trudeau, J. V. (2019). The rolling hotspot? Perceptions of behavioral problems on school buses among a nationally representative sample of transportation officials. Journal of School Violence, 18(3), 455-467.

This study presents results from a nationally representative survey of school district transportation officials (N = 2,595) to understand how common seven types of behavioral problems (fighting, bullying, substance use, sexual harassment, sexual behaviors, profanity, violations of basic rules) are perceived to be on school buses. Ordinary least-squares regression is used to examine respondent- and district-level predictors of behavioral problems. Results indicate that violations of basic rules (e.g., moving seats), profanity, and bullying are perceived to be the most common problems on the nation’s buses. Several respondent (e.g., sex, race, title) and district characteristics (e.g., percentage of special education students) are statistically associated with perceptions of misconduct, number of disciplinary reports filed in the previous school year, or the frequency with which reports were filed. Implications of findings are discussed.


Brown, J. R., Karikari, I., Abraham, S., & Akakpo, T. (2018). Left off the route: a qualitative examination of urban bus drivers wanting to be players in the bully prevention solution. Journal of interpersonal violence, 1-25.

Every school day millions of children board the bus from home and school oftentimes with 90 others including a bus driver. Perhaps not found in a bus drivers’ job description are the details to monitor and respond to all suspected bullying behaviors. Being bullied can have long-term negative consequences for both bullies and victims. The school bus has been identified as a potential hot spot for student bullying, wherein bus drivers may see, hear, and respond to several types of bullying on a daily basis that often require support from school officials. However, a bus driver’s ability to intercede effectively in cases of school bus bullying may be limited. This qualitative study used a nonprobability, purposeful sample to examine 18 urban African American school bus drivers’ and bus attendants’experiences in addressing school bus bullying within the context of their riders and school officials. Using focus groups, a definition of school bullying was read aloud to provide context to six questions from a semistructured interview guide that related bus drivers’ experiences in responding to acts of bullying. An interpretive phenomenology method was used throughout the data analysis process. Several key themes and practices emerged. Results suggest bus drivers’ reports were mostly passified and not taken seriously. Furthermore, these bus drivers’ experiences overwhelmingly reflected a lack of both being taken seriously and being included in decision making. This led to a key stakeholder: bus drivers, being left out of the process. From these drivers’ interviews, a model was developed to illustrate their lived experiences from behind the wheel to working with the school in responding to bullying.


Goodboy, A. K., Martin, M. M., & Brown, E. (2016). Bullying on the school bus: Deleterious effects on public school bus drivers. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 44(4), 434-452.

Bullying is a serious communication problem facing teachers, administrators, parents, and students alike. Although much research has examined bullying intervention and prevention efforts in schools, bullying on the bus has received little empirical attention, even though victimization regularly occurs in this school-related environment. The purpose of this study was to examine how bus drivers are affected by student bullying during their routes. Participants included 117 public school bus drivers who reported on victimization from students during their bus route and resulting driver outcomes. Results of path analyses revealed significant mediation models; the bullying of bus drivers had effects on driver outcomes (i.e. anxious driving, occupational self-efficacy, emotional exhaustion, and cynicism) indirectly through its effects on job stress. Moreover, results of conditional process analyses revealed that these mediated effects were moderated by years of bus driving experience (i.e. moderated mediation); the indirect effects on driver outcomes were stronger for more experienced drivers.


deLara, E. W. (2008). Bullying and aggression on the school bus: School bus drivers’ observations and suggestions. Journal of School Violence, 7(3), 48-70.

The purpose of this study was to assess the nature of bullying on the school bus. Videotapes were used to identify occurrences of bullying on buses of elementary school students. Incidents were reviewed for forms of bullying, fullness, presence of friends, and severity of acts. Results indicated that approximately two incidents occurred per bus ride and that both frequency and severity differed by bus fullness. Gender differences were observed for types of bullying; however, the presence of friends was not found to be protective for either gender. Implications for bus safety and future research are discussed.


Raskauskas, J. (2005). Bullying on the school bus: A video analysis. Journal of school violence, 4(3), 93-107.

The purpose of this study was to assess the nature of bullying on the school bus. Videotapes were used to identify occurrences of bullying on buses of elementary school students. Incidents were reviewed for forms of bullying, fullness, presence of friends, and severity of acts. Results indicated that approximately two incidents occurred per bus ride and that both frequency and severity differed by bus fullness. Gender differences were observed for types of bullying; however, the presence of friends was not found to be protective for either gender. Implications for bus safety and future research are discussed.

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