U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx spoke to elementary schoolchildren about being respectful to their bus drivers at Friday's main Love the Bus event at Oak Hill Elementary School in High Point, N.C.
HIGH POINT, N.C. — Industry officials and students didn't let heavy rain dampen their spirits as they gathered at an elementary school here on Friday for the American School Bus Council (ASBC)’s main Love the Bus event, with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx in attendance.
Foxx and other attendees, such as U.S. Congressman Howard Coble; Carlas McCauley, director of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of School Improvement Grants; Guilford County (N.C.) Schools Superintendent Mo Green; and High Point Mayor Bernita Sims, spoke to Oak Hill Elementary School students about being respectful to their bus drivers and appreciating the safety, environmental, congestion mitigation and access-to-education benefits of the yellow school bus.
Sims announced a proclamation declaring Feb. 21, 2014, "Love the Bus Day" in High Point, and Foxx walked through the halls of the school, which were decorated with school bus murals made by students in Oak Hill's art classes, and students performed songs and acted out an adaptation of a popular children's book for him.
"I think our bus drivers are unsung heroes,” Fox said at the event, according to the National School Transportation Association (NSTA)'s newsletter. “They are people who, day after day, get up in sometimes adverse weather to arrive on time to pick up kids for school. … Their respect and their ability to be responsible adults — the first responsible adults from public education kids interact with on a daily basis — those things are so important in the development in children. I know because I was a kid who rode a school bus, and I know how much of an impression the school bus drivers made on me."
In a blog post on Monday, Foxx wrote about his experience at the Love the Bus event, and he touted the industry’s safety record.
He wrote that he joined the other attendees at the Love the Bus celebration to “give those buses and their drivers the thanks they deserve.”
“The data on school transportation are clear — the safest way to get our most precious cargo to school and home each day is on a large school bus with a well-trained driver. … The safety data is even more remarkable when you think about just how many students are riding the bus every day,” Foxx said in the post.
He also wrote about how school transportation professionals connect America’s children with all of the opportunities that come from the chance to learn and succeed at school.
On its Facebook page, ASBC said, “It was great to be with Sec. Foxx for Love the Bus on Friday. We are lucky to have a leader with such a well-developed understanding about the importance of the yellow school bus heading the U.S. Department of Transportation.”
Officials from the National School Transportation Association (NSTA), the National Association for Pupil Transportation, the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services and the school bus manufacturers were among the industry officials in attendance at Friday’s celebration.
"Love the Bus is a great event that allows the schools to recognize and thank their school bus drivers,” NSTA President Tim Flood said. “Without the safe and reliable transportation that the yellow school bus provides, many of these students would be unable to get the education that they need."
As previously reported, ASBC officials said that Oak Hill Elementary School was an ideal host for the Love the Bus event because the school’s students are heavily reliant upon the school bus for their transportation to and from school.