‘Love the Bus’ Event Celebrates the Importance of School Transportation

Recognized East Aurora, Illinois bus drivers pose with Buster the School Bus after a "Love the Bus" assembly held Feb. 8, 2019. (All photos are courtesy of ASBC.)

The American School Bus Council held its annual “Love the Bus” event last week. It focused on the role the yellow school bus and bus drivers have on students’ success.

Since 2007, ASBC has celebrated the school bus safety record and role that school bus drivers play during February. Every year, students, schools and educators nationwide are invited by the council to highlight yellow school bus safety in their communities.

This year’s national event was held Feb. 8 at the Fred Rodgers Magnet Academy in the East Aurora Illinois School District 131. The event featured speakers who shared their stories on the importance of the yellow school bus and the impact it has had on their community.

Dr. Jennifer Norrell, superintendent of East Aurora School District 131, discussed the difference in student behavior after implementing a bus service in their community. Since offering school bus service for the first time in 2018, district officials said they have seen an improvement in their students arriving to school on time, being well rested and performing better.

East Aurora School Board President Annette Johnson linked school bus transportation to academic success. She said that attendance among middle-school students who were eligible to ride the bus rose by 27 percent.

“The day starts and ends with the bus drivers,” added A.L Reeves, director of mentoring for Harford Schools in Baltimore and ASBC’s guest speaker. “They make your education possible.”

Reeves, who also spoke before National School Transportation Association members last summer, said he appreciates the benefits of the school buses. Without it, he might not have been able to attend school when he was younger, he noted.

The ceremony also included some bus drivers in the district receiving a certificate and a gift, as well as the appearance of Buster the Bus. Buster provided students with safety tips for when loading/unloading the school bus.

ASBC is encouraging school districts and contractors to hold their own Love the Bus events during February, and to share their activities on social media platforms and lovethebus.org website. By posting on Facebook and Twitter and using #LoveTheBus or @WeLoveTheBus, school districts could win a Visa card of up to $250. The prize money will be based on the number of likes and how the posts commemorate the meaning behind Love the Bus.

ASBC also offers Love the Bus coursework and other resources that can be downloaded at lovethebus.org, including certificates, cards and coloring sheets. This year’s coloring sheet is “2019 Stop for Safety.” The theme reminds vehicle drivers to stop when children are loading/unloading from the bus.

Meanwhile, school bus contractor GORiteway announced it will celebrate its Love the Bus event in Oak Creek Elementary in conjunction with the Wisconsin School Bus Association and the ASBC. Feb. 11-15 is also Wisconsin School Bus Driver Recognition Week, held in cooperation with other agencies throughout Wisconsin. The week honors more than 150,000 school bus drivers in the state. The event will feature local guest speakers and picture opportunities with school bus drivers.

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