When the buses roll, safety is always the key

The first week of public school is now in the books, and we should all be used to seeing the big yellow buses on our roads — which should remind us just how important those bus drivers — and others within the school system — really are.

School bus drivers make a positive impact on our children. While often in the background, quietly doing their job without bringing much attention to themselves, the roles they play go far beyond just driving the vehicle that takes our children to and from school every day.

In many ways they are on the front lines — the first person a young person comes in contact with each day and, for many, the last person in the educational realm they see each afternoon.

They rise early and stay late, traveling, before the week’s end, thousands of miles across the great expanse of our county. And they do it with safety first in their mind, always aware that the passengers they pick up and bring back home day after day are our most precious possessions.

For that reason, and many more, school bus drivers treat them as such. Not only do they use great care and caution while driving students back and forth to school each day, they act as a child’s friend, cheerleader, disciplinarian and coach, seeing to it that children feel good about themselves.

It’s not unusual for children to develop strong ties with their bus drivers, leaning on them for advice and depending on the smile that beckons them to come aboard and get ready for a great day.

They can — and often do — set the tone for a child’s day.

The cheery greeting bus drivers offer, and the sincere smile they provide can often change a child’s attitude quickly, letting them know that someone cares and wants them to have the best day possible.

While classroom teachers make a tremendous impact on students every single day, teaching and nurturing young minds, molding them into free thinkers, you can be sure educators aren’t the only ones who make a positive impact on a young person during the course of any school day.

Bus drivers, cafeteria workers, custodians, media specialists, nurses and secretaries and school administrators all have a hand in the educational process, and they each do a tremendous job of sparking interest in children and making them feel special.

Kindergarten children may not remember their first math lesson, but you can be sure they’ll remember the bus driver who gave them a special seat up front for the ride home, the cafeteria worker who gave them an extra roll or the janitor who showed them their way around the school.

All those things matter, too, setting the stage for the successes that young people will have in any given year. If they are, at an early age, made to feel important by every person tied to the school system, then their chances of success grow exponentially.

We tip our hat to all those who are responsible for a child’s educational success, and we particularly offer thanks today to bus drivers, the transportation services staffs who, beginning Monday, will see that safety is at an optimum level for yet another school year. ,

Those bright yellow buses will roll again Tuesday to start Week Two for our public school children, and parents can be assured that those behind the wheel have their child’s safety utmost in their minds, not unlike other educational personnel.

And we all should be comforted in that fact.