School transportation operations and organizations will hold events on or around Valentine's Day next week and the following week to promote the benefits of the yellow bus and to honor bus drivers. The celebrations are part of the school bus industry's annual Love the Bus campaign.
Anne Ferro, administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and Ron Medford, deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, have agreed to join representatives of the American School Bus Council (ASBC) at an event at Sunderland (Md.) Elementary School on Feb. 21 from 8:30 to 10 a.m.
Officials said the event will provide a strong human interest element — elementary-age students will give handmade valentines to their school bus drivers and paste “lips” on their bus to show their appreciation for their drivers.
Moreover, on Thursday, Feb. 16, the Virginia Association for Pupil Transportation (VAPT) and its business partners will host Virginia's first statewide Love the Bus celebration. The 10 a.m. rally will be held in Richmond at the historic Bell Tower in Capitol Square.
The VAPT said that students and pupil transportation officials from across the state will gather "to celebrate the institution of the iconic yellow school bus, and highlight the vital contributions pupil transportation plays in Virginia’s public education mission."
During the event, state and national representatives will share their stories of affection for the yellow school bus as well as the challenges facing the task of safely carrying Virginia’s children to and from school each day.
Highlights will include displays of Love the Bus artwork from local schoolchildren and musical performances by a high school pep band and drum line and a fifth grade choir.
In North Carolina, Gov. Beverly Perdue proclaimed Feb. 13-17, 2012, School Bus Driver Appreciation Week. She urged citizens "to recognize the excellence of our state's school bus drivers and their record of safety."
School districts across North Carolina have a wide variety of Love the Bus events planned. A list can be found here.
In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker proclaimed next week School Bus Driver Recognition Week. The proclamation notes that more than 15,000 Wisconsin school bus drivers travel more than 82 million miles yearly in transporting more than 600,000 pupils to and from school daily, in the safest form of surface transportation in the state.
First Student and National Express Corp. are among school bus contracting companies celebrating Love the Bus. “We want to thank each of our school bus drivers and support staff for safely transporting children to and from school each day,” said David Duke, CEO of National Express Corp.'s Durham School Services and Stock Transportation.
Linda Burtwistle, president of First Student, noted that “our drivers recognize the tremendous responsibility they undertake in transporting children to school throughout the year.”
More Love the Bus information and resources are available on the ASBC's recently redesigned website.