|California Recogizes Role Played by School Bus Drivers in Ensuring Child Safety|
|Written by Ryan Gray|
|Thursday, 28 April 2011 13:44|
The California State Assembly and the California Highway Patrol declared "School Bus Driver's Day" earlier this week for "continued and excellent service to the youth of the state."
Each year, the California Association of School Transportation Officials requests a state assembly member or state senator to introduce a new resolution. Sen. Tom Harman, representing the coastal area of Orange County in Southern California, championed the bill for the second-consecutive year.
Sen. Harman presented a plaque on the assembly floor to (from left in the above photo) Pam McDonald, president of CASTO, Anna Borges, the state director at the Department of Education, and Bill Doring, CASTO's lobbyist.
April 26 this year fell on the fourth Tuesday of the month, which the legislation has recognized as the official state School Bus Driver Day since the early 1990s. The California Highway Patrol also joined in to recognize bus drivers, who CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said are largely responsible for the state's exemplary student transportation record. According to CHP records, there have been no student rider fatalities in the past 15 years.
"These are some of the most professional drivers in the state, and they're passionated about what they do," commented Farrow. "I applaud them for their extraordinary safety record and the pride they take every day in the safe transportation of California's children."
McDonald said the CASTO board considered changing the resolution to include all student transportation personnel, but the proposal failed to pass because most districts already honor support staff at the same time as school bus drivers. Additionally, there was concern that a change could affect the ability for the legislation to pass, and the board didn't want to take away from the drivers.
At Orange Unified School District, where McDonald is the transportation director, drivers and support staff were treated to an early 9:30 a.m. lunch of chicken and beef tostadas. McDonald explained that most employees start there day at 4 or 5 a.m. and have built up a good appetite by that time of day. Orange Unified also awarded Valerie Arellano, the district's bus driver instructor, as the winner of the 2011 Peer Employee of the Year Award. Meanwhile, Michael Uszenski, the vehicle maintenance foreman, was named the Peer Mechanic of the Year. Both awards are voted on by district transportation staff.
Orange Unified also awards pins to employees who have reached service milestones with the district in increments of five years. Many other school districts statewide also hold similar celebrations, McDonald added.
National School Bus Safety Week sponsored by NAPT and recognized by the U.S. Department of Transportation takes place during the third week of October each year. For the past several years, ASBC has also celebrated "Love the Bus" that encourages students and educators to recognize school bus drivers on or around Valentine's Day.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 28 April 2011 15:07|