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April 01, 2004  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

Saluting the front lines

Occasionally we need to remind ourselves of the critical importance of the individuals who actually carry out the mission of transporting America’s future. To that end, we asked transportation directors to comment on the key attributes of their school bus drivers. Here’s what they said.

Drivers require trust, support
As administrators, we rely on the bus contractor to provide the most capable people possible to transport our children from one location to another, free from incident and accident. That means we are putting a great deal of trust in the bus contractor’s judgment. If we have done our job in conveying to our contractor the importance we place in the duties and responsibilities of a bus driver, the bus driver will hopefully have the same sense of the significance of their actions while carrying out their duties and responsibilities.

How bus drivers are treated should be in direct proportion to how we want our kids treated. If we want our kids to be in as safe environment as possible while riding a bus, drivers need to have the trust and confidence that they have been trained properly and that their supervisors and managers are continually supporting them. The drivers are on the front line every school day. The value of their services cannot be overstated.

Likewise, parents need to have confidence that their school administration has the students’ best interests at heart at all times. When we entrust their children to the bus drivers, we as administrators are saying to them that we have done due diligence, and that the people who are driving their kids around the district have all the resources as well as our confidence to get their kids to and from school in the safest manner possible. What aspect of school business can be more important than that? Are the bus drivers treated as though they have one of the most important jobs in the school district? Do the bus drivers have the necessary support and training resources to do their job in the most effective manner possible? How important is their job to us?

Ronald Roe, transportation manager
Shawnee Mission (Kan.) School District

Solidarity is key component
The importance of my bus drivers! I’ve been a bus driver with Pellston Public Schools for 34 years, five of those years as transportation supervisor and bus driver.

I have seen supervisors and drivers come and go. Right now I have the best crew. We used to have 10 bus runs, now we are down to nine because of budget cuts. The new runs went very well. My drivers were in all the planning stages to cut a run. We all stood together and accomplished what needed to be done. I could not have done that without their help.

We are out on the road at 6:30 a.m. We get the students safely to school and back home. Our school district is 345 square miles — it may be clear in one area and snowing like crazy in the other. The drivers take this in stride.

Through the years the drivers felt as they were the low men on the totem pole. What the school is finally realizing, and what I have known all along, is that the drivers are very important in this whole educational operation.

I tell my drivers all the time how much I appreciate all they do. It’s why we come to work every day and enjoy what we do. A few words can’t properly convey the importance of bus drivers.

GiGi Reeder, transportation supervisor
Pellston (Mich.) Public Schools

Proud to be among them
Dedicated, dependable, respected individuals who fearlessly tackle the most important job there is — being a school bus driver. Lodi’s drivers are compassionate, caring individuals who will go beyond the call of duty to ensure their "precious cargo" is delivered in a safe and timely fashion. I’m proud to be considered a part of this wonderful group.

Brenda Kraemer, contract manager
First Student Inc.
Lodi, Wis.

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