a school bus

Study Summary

Many schools have identified non-classroom areas that are of concern to administrators and teachers.  This study explored the use of peers as mediators of positive behavior supports in an elementary school's bus loading area  and lunchroom.  Positive behavior supports (PBS) were identified by school administrators and designed with input from additional school personnel to address the behavior issues in each designated area.  These PBS strategies were then implemented and evaluated across the school year.

During the intervention, fourth and fifth grade students  monitored the bus loading area and the lunchroom.  Monitors were rotated from one week in the lunchroom to up to three consecutive weeks in the bus loading area.  In both contexts the monitors were taught to find students following the rules and award them a ticket along with verbal praise for compliance.  Any infractions of the rules were reported to a teacher or other adult supervising the area.

Students riding the bus received group rewards when the entire bus route line reached a goal (number of tickets).  Students in the lunchroom placed their tickets in a drawing box, and prizes were awarded twice a week.

Effects of the bus line intervention were measured subjectively by the students, teachers on bus duty, bus drivers, and school district busing personnel.  Subjective measurement was used to make the evaluation more feasible and practical for school personnel.

The effects of the lunchroom intervention were formally measured through direct observation by the researchers.  Data-based decisions were then made in consultation with the principal, considering practicality and feasibility.  The outcomes from both interventions were positive.  Using student peers as monitors of troubled areas was found to be practical and feasible for school personnel and effective in changing student behavior.


A presentation on this study was made at the 27th annual TECBD National Conference© by Lynnette Christensen, Janet Young, Richard Young, and Michelle Marchant.  The following link connects to the presentation as it took place at the conference:



Bus Line Intervention
Lunchroom Intervention

Student behavior while waiting for the bus after school:
• Leaving designated area
• Failing to keep hands and feet to self
• Yelling
• Defying adult instructions

Student behavior during lunch time:
• Failing to keep hands and feet to self
• Failing to remain seated
• Running
• Creating excessive litter
• Creating excessive noise

• Number of bus students: 575 (96% of students)
• Number of bus routes: 5
• Wait time: 5-25+ minutes
• Number of teachers on bus duty: 3
• Limited resources

• Only one adult lunchroom supervisor
• A total of 500 students in 45 minutes
• Data collection
• Limited resources


Bus loading area rules
• I line up.
• I stay in my bus line.
• I talk softly.
• I keep my hands and feet to myself.

Line Organization
Shapes were used to designate individual bus lines: e.g., star, square, triangle, rectangle, and heart.

Student Monitors
Monitors handed out tickets to reward students for following the rules.

A poster was created showing a thermometer with an arrow indicating the number of tickets received for following the rules.  The goal was to move the arrow to the top of the thermometer.


Lunchroom rules
• I stay seated.
• I walk and talk quietly.
• I clean my area when I leave.
• I keep my hands and feet to myself.

Student Monitors
Monitors handed out tickets to reward students for following the rules.

The tickets were entered into the lunchbox drawing.
The cleanest area received the "golden lunch tray" for their classroom.

During 2003-2004, student monitors gave out 10,154 tickets.

• Number of rule infractions
• Amount of trash
• Direct observation occurred daily at the same time.
• The custodian weighed trash with a fishing weight.

“Bus duty is so much nicer now” (teacher).

“How do you keep these kids so under control? It’s very nice and makes the bus drivers’ job so much better” (district bus supervisor).

“There is a definite improvement over last year this same time” (principal).

“There is definite improvement in the students staying seated” (custodian).

“The kids are doing a better job cleaning up” (lunchroom staff).

“Things have changed in here. It seems quieter” (teacher).


As more tickets were distributed, fewer inappropriate behaviors occurred. 

The amount of trash decreased from an average of approximately 200 pieces of trash per day to an average of approximately 100 pieces per day.