*Information provided by the North Carolina State Board of Education/ Department of Public Instruction*
Districts and schools across the state and nation will show their love next week for their school bus drivers along with their valentines. Nationally, February is Love the Bus month; and in North Carolina, Feb. 13-17 is School Bus Driver Appreciation Week.
Numerous events will be held this week across North Carolina. Students and staff at West Smithfield Elementary (Johnston County Schools) will give their bus drivers daily treats. At Martin County’s Rodgers Elementary School, bus drivers will receive Valentine cards, snacks and goodies, and breakfast on Friday. Graham Elementary (Cleveland County Schools) students and staff will reward their bus drivers with a catered lunch, a Love the Bus cake and T-shirts.
State Superintendent Mark Johnson will join the festivities in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg district Feb. 17 by boarding a school bus and riding with students to Ridge Road Middle School, where he will attend a special celebration for bus drivers.
Additional details about these activities and many others planned across the state can be found on the 2017 Love the Bus Event listing.
In North Carolina, more than 800,000 students board over 13,000 school buses each day. Their drivers must complete rigorous training and be certified to drive a bus.
Derek Graham, Transportation Services section chief for the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, said the state’s bus drivers earn the week of recognition every day of the school year. “Student safety is the top priority for our school bus drivers,” Graham said. “It’s good to have a week when we can express our appreciation for all they do to ensure that students arrive to and from school safely.”
Gov. Roy Cooper has proclaimed Feb. 13-17 as School Bus Driver Appreciation Week in North Carolina, and urges all school communities to take a moment to thank bus drivers for all they do.
The Love the Bus program, launched in 2007 and coordinated by the American School Bus Council, is not only a way to raise awareness and appreciation for the hundreds of thousands of school bus drivers nationwide, but it also provides an opportunity for parents and children to learn more about the safety and environmental benefits of school bus transportation. Nationwide, school buses represent 25 percent of the miles traveled by students, but they account for fewer than 4 percent of the injuries that occur during students’ commutes to and from school each day.
Parents, teachers and children are encouraged to visit the American School Bus Council’s website to share stories about their favorite bus drivers and make interactive valentines to email or print and give to their bus driver. Additional information on the American School Bus Council is available online.