North Carolina school bus drivers will get extra attention next week during School Bus Driver Appreciation Week, as schools and districts honor drivers for their important role with various events and celebrations. Nationally, February is Love the Bus month, intended to raise awareness and appreciation for the safe experience of riding the bus to and from school.
State Superintendent Mark Johnson will join the weeklong celebration with a visit Wednesday, Feb. 13, to Salem Elementary School in Apex, where he’ll ride a bus to school with students, greet bus drivers and attend a breakfast the school is holding in their honor.
Driver appreciation events such as these are planned throughout the week. At Union Chapel Elementary School in Robeson County, drivers will be showered with attention, beginning with breakfast from cafeteria staff on Monday, and special appreciation throughout the week for each driver and cards and ornaments created by the art department. Students at Sugarloaf Elementary School in Henderson County will make bus driver appreciation cards for delivery to the drivers on Feb. 14. The bus drivers will be treated to an Appreciation Breakfast on Feb. 13. The school also is planning a Bus Driver Appreciation Parade, when drivers will walk down each hall while students show them signs, high-fives, and chants.
Additional details about these activities and many others planned across the state can be found on the 2019 Love the Bus Event listing.
In North Carolina, more than 750,000 students board more than 13,000 school buses each day. Their drivers must complete rigorous training and be certified to drive a bus.
Kevin Harrison, transportation services section chief for the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, said the state’s bus drivers earn the special recognition every day of the school year.
“School bus drivers are among the unsung heroes of our state,” Harrison said. “We rely on them every day to safely transport our children to and from school. I hope that all students, parents and staff will take a moment during this week to express their appreciation for the many things their bus drivers do.”
Gov. Roy Cooper has proclaimed Feb. 11-15 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 also provides an opportunity for parents and children to learn more about the safety and environmental benefits of school bus transportation.
Students nationwide are about 70 times more likely to get to school safely if they take the school bus instead of traveling by car, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In addition, school buses reduce traffic by keeping more than 17 million cars off roads each year, the American School Bus Council says, while also saving approximately 2.6 billion gallons of fuel. In North Carolina alone, transportation by school bus saves more than 65 million gallons of fuel each year compared to what’s needed by individual family cars.
Parents, teachers and children are encouraged to visit the American School Bus Council’s website to share stories about their favorite bus drivers and find a variety of other resources for honoring drivers.