Love was in the air this month as school districts and contractors across the country celebrated their pupil transporters in Love the Bus events.
The annual Love the Bus campaign is spearheaded by the American School Bus Council.
Here are details on a handful of celebrations for Love the Bus and driver appreciation weeks.
Love for the Bus in North Carolina
In North Carolina, dozens of schools held Love the Bus events around Valentine’s Day. As detailed in the state’s extensive list of events, efforts to show appreciation for drivers included student-made Valentine’s cards, breakfasts, lunches, goodie bags, and visits from dignitaries.
North Carolina State Superintendent Mark Johnson took part in several Love the Bus celebrations during the week of Feb. 12 to 16, which was designated School Bus Driver Appreciation Week by Gov. Roy Cooper. Johnson also gave a shoutout to school bus drivers in a video with Dr. Ross Renfrow, superintendent of Johnston County (N.C.) Public Schools.
Kevin Harrison, North Carolina’s state director of pupil transportation, also recognized the efforts of student transporters.
“School bus drivers are entrusted with a great responsibility: to safely transport our children to and from school each day,” Harrison said. “To do this, they must drive their students, watch out for them, listen to them, and teach them. We ask so much of bus drivers every day. I hope that all students, parents, and staff will take a moment to express their appreciation for the many things their bus drivers do.”
Proclamation Honors Delaware School Bus Drivers
In Delaware, Gov. John Carney issued a proclamation honoring school bus drivers and aides for their contributions to safe school transportation. Also, Delaware Secretary of Education Susan Bunting and Capital School District Superintendent Dan Shelton greeted and thanked school bus drivers and aides after they dropped off students at a middle school in Dover on Feb. 13.
“The bus drivers and aides who safely transport Delaware’s students to school and back each day have challenging jobs,” Bunting said. “Love the Bus is a great opportunity to thank those who care for our children every day.”
Also, Delawareans were encouraged to share their love online with the hashtag #DElovesthebus.
Bus Driver Appreciation, Celebration in South Carolina
In South Carolina, the Department of Education recognized the state's 2017 National School Bus Safety Poster Contest winners. The celebration was part of South Carolina’s School Bus Driver Appreciation Week.
"School bus drivers play an integral role in transporting students safely to and from school every day,” said Molly Spearman, state superintendent of education. “Many drivers go above and beyond their duties and make a lasting impact on students' lives.”
School Bus Safety Message in Wisconsin
In Wisconsin, Feb. 12 to 16 was dubbed School Bus Driver Recognition Week by Gov. Scott Walker. School bus contractor Go Riteway was among the operations in the state that highlighted the work of their drivers. The company also encouraged the public to express their appreciation for school bus drivers — and to stop for them when they are loading or unloading students.
“Motorists should always give bus drivers a break,” Riteway said in a press release. “Slow down, and watch for children getting on and off the bus.”
During School Bus Driver Recognition Week, Go Riteway’s 16 school bus locations provided daily perks for their drivers. Those included breakfast, lunch, prize drawings, and theme dressing. Also, some schools brought in treats or meals for the drivers.
Thanking School Bus Drivers in Oregon
Bend-La Pine Schools in Oregon also encouraged students, staff, and families to share their love for the bus on Valentine’s Day.
“We invite students and staff members to write a thank you note or draw a picture for bus drivers,” said Kim Crabtree, the district’s director of transportation. “This gesture will mean so much to our drivers, who give so much to our students and schools.”
Food and Fun at Alabama Love the Bus Event
In Pelham, Alabama, school bus dealership Transportation South honored 35 drivers from across the state in a Love the Bus event on Valentine’s Day. The drivers as well as other transportation personnel were treated to a barbecue lunch in the dealership’s shop.
Students from an elementary school also attended the Transportation South event, where they dined on pizza and cake and decorated a bus. On display on the walls of the shop were drawings that the students had made to depict why they love the bus.
Also at the Transportation South celebration, David Black of Trussville City Schools was named Driver of the Year. Black was described as “strict, funny, and caring,” and one parent said her kids don’t want her to take them to school because they’re afraid they'll miss a good story or a funny song from their bus driver.