THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234
Office of P-20 Education Policy
Local Education Agencies (LEAs) participating in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs should be aware that there is no federal or State regulation prohibiting students from having food or eating on the school bus. This prohibition only applies to bus drivers. The policy allowing or not allowing students to eat and drink on the bus is decided at the local level.
Even though local school district policy may not allow students to eat on the bus, it may be in the best interest of the school food service director to meet with the school board to have exceptions made to this rule. For example, LEAs may benefit from providing bag breakfasts to students on the buses before school begins or provide bag lunches to vocational students and allow them to consume them on the bus traveling to the BOCES. If you can persuade the district to adjust its policy on eating on the school bus to meet the needs of the students, very positive outcomes can be obtained.
Keep in mind that whenever and wherever food is consumed, choking can occur. If food is consumed on a moving bus, choking posters should be visible and persons other than the bus driver should know how to administer the Heimlich maneuver. Lives could depend on it. The choking poster is available through the Health Department.
Any questions regarding this topic should be directed to Barbara St. Louis at (518) 474-3956.