HomePeopleMichigan School Bus Attendant Paints Her Own Future in School Transportation

Michigan School Bus Attendant Paints Her Own Future in School Transportation

Ashley DeMoss, a school bus attendant for special education routes operated by school bus contractor Dean Transportation, doesn’t let her own developmental disability define her.

But she certainly wears her love for the yellow bus on her sleeve, and also for a blue bus nicknamed “Piper.”

DeMoss of Sterling Heights, Michigan, told School Transportation News that she always loved school buses growing up. But because she has autism, she was told she would never be able to work in the school transportation industry.

“[It] made me very determined to do my best,” she said, recalling the negative feedback she continuously received.

DeMoss is currently studying for her commercial driver’s license (CDL) while continuing to work for Dean Transportation. Dean Transportation is based in Lansing, Michigan, and provides inclusive student transportation with a focus on providing services to special education students and those with disabilities.

“I love my job and no matter how long it takes I look forward to driving school buses for them,” said DeMoss.

DeMoss was awarded a high school internship with Warren Consolidated Schools located north of Detroit. There, she worked in the transportation office and was trained as a dispatcher. Following graduation, Dean Transportation hired her as a bus attendant on special education routes.

DeMoss said that working with students in special education brings back memories of her own childhood. She sees children being restless and loud on the bus, often because they have been told throughout the school day to sit quietly and not move around.

“I know sometimes the students cry because many students have trouble saying what is really wrong. That’s how it was with me in school,” said DeMoss.

She recalled her own struggles to make friends and express herself in school and strives to work with empathy, saying that she makes it a point “to listen to them and talk and laugh.”

Even though she was at first too young to work as a school bus driver, that didn’t stop DeMoss from pursuing her dream of driving a school bus. She saved her paychecks and purchased a 2006 GMC Thomas Built Buses Minotaur four-window school bus as her first personal vehicle.

Ashley DeMoss did most of the repainting of her blue school bus.

DeMoss affectionately named her school bus Piper and painted it blue. She also decorates Piper for different holiday events and has won two first-place awards at local community events.

DeMoss said she hopes to inspire others to pursue their passions and work towards their dream job.

“In the future, I plan on visiting schools with Piper, proving that every student should follow their dreams,” she said. “There are no bad children. I hope in some ways I am making their lives better because they are surely helping me.”

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