More than 200 school bus drivers who transport Calvert County, Md., students are being honored this month as part of the district's ongoing involvement in the annual "Love the Bus" celebration promoted nationwide by the American School Bus Council.
Ed Cassidy, director of transportation for Calvert County Public Schools, said this year's local event, the third in as many years, is scheduled for Feb. 14. He added that last year's national event, which featured an appearance by FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro, occurred at Calvert County's Sunderland Elementary School. This year's national ASBC Love the Bus event is scheduled for Feb. 12 in Arlington, Va., and will be attended by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
"Not only are school buses safer than any other method of transporting students to school, but each bus load of student takes literally dozens of cars off the road," Cassidy added. "This saves money for families in our community and helps preserve the environment for all of us."
Cassidy also correlated Maryland's top-ranking in the annual "Quality Counts" survey published by Education Week, the state's fifth consecutive crown, with transportation services.
"You know, the first adult and the last adult that most children associate with the school day is the bus driver. Bus drivers deserve a special 'thank you' for helping get each child's school day off to a good start, and for helping each school day end on a positive note."
This year, Beach Elementary School students will be giving their bus drivers snack bags, and each class at Appeal Elementary is making a Valentine's Day card with an individually wrapped pastry for a driver. Each day, Cassidy said the district uses 158 contractor buses, about 120 of which serve three/four schools on a three tiered systems. The school system also employs the 27 bus assistants who ride on the special route buses, as needed.
The drivers transport 15,000 students each day and are employees of 25 bus contractor companies in the area, which is bordered by the Chesapeake Bay and Patuxent River. The district pointed out that the bus drivers receive specialized classroom and behind-the-wheel training in driving a school bus, student loading/unloading procedures, student evacuation, managing student behavior and security of students. All school bus drivers are also required to participate in pre-employment, random and post-accident drug and alcohol testing, frequent driving record checks, and periodic medical exams to ensure they are physically qualified. The bus contractors who manage school buses carefully monitor bus drivers, and also keep the buses in good working condition, including having the buses inspected four times per year.
Dwight Bishop, Sr. owner of Bishop Bus Service, Inc. in Lusby, and the President of the Calvert County School Bus Contractors Association said, "I am grateful that students, parents and school staff take a few moments during the month of February to say thank you to our bus driver. Bus drivers care about students, are well-trained and are committed to safely transporting students to and from school."
“I am grateful that students, parents and school staff take a few moments during the month of February to say thank you to our bus driver," said Dwight Bishop, Sr., owner of Bishop Bus Service, Inc. and president of the Calvert County School Bus Contractors Association. "Bus drivers care about students, are well-trained and are committed to safely transporting students to and from school.”