TOPEKA — School bus drivers play an important role in the safety of Kansas’ students. To honor them, Gov. Sam Brownback has proclaimed Oct. 18 as School Bus Drivers’ Appreciation Day.
“These men and women dedicate their time and talent to make sure 225,578 students are transported safely to and from school and activities every school day,” said Keith Dreiling, director of the Kansas State Department of Education’s Bus Safety Unit. “Please take the time to help me honor them. They are extremely valuable assets and are unsung heroes in communities across the state.”
While there are more than 4,100 school bus drivers with commercial driver’s licenses in the state, Kansas — like many other states — has a shortage of bus drivers. In fact, openings for school bus drivers will continue to be one of the nation’s top transportation workforce needs, Dreiling said.
School Bus Drivers’ Appreciation Day falls during National School Bus Safety Week, which has been set aside to remind people about school bus safety. National School Bus Safety Week is Oct. 16-20 this year.
Here are a few bus safety rules that parents can review with their children:
— While waiting for the bus, stay in a safe place away from the street.
— Be alert to traffic. When you get on or off the bus, look left, right, left before you enter or cross the street.
— When you get on or off the bus, look for the bus safety lights and make sure they are flashing.
— Remember to cross in front of the bus.
— If something falls under or near the bus, tell the driver. NEVER crawl under the bus to try and pick it up yourself.
— Don’t jump up or down, fight, bully or tease other passengers or make a lot of noise while riding the bus. These activities can distract the bus driver, and he or she won’t be able to give proper attention to driving.
For more information about school bus safety, contact KSDE’s School Bus Safety Unit at (785) 296-3551.