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Evolutionary Timeline of the American School Bus
The first school bus appeared as communities started using converted farm vehicles with benches along the insides and a rear entry gate so the horses wouldn’t be frightened when children climbed aboard. They were known as “school wagons” or “kid hacks”. They were very basic modes of transportation that didn’t even have a top to protect children from snow or rain.
During this period, thirty-one states collectively passed compulsory education laws with Massachusetts being the first. Getting children to and from school other than via the horse-drawn “hack” had become a vital issue.
With more cars on the road, the first motorized school buses also appeared. However, they continued to be basic wooden vehicles with side bench seating and only a tarp stretched over a frame to provide protection from inclement weather.