Today marks the beginning of National School Bus Driver Appreciation Week.
It’s a week for parents and students to let their school bus drivers know how important and special they are. Jason Ayers is the Transportation Director for the Franklin County School System.
Speaking Sunday on 92-1’s Community Forum, Ayers said most of his 56 school bus drivers don’t see their part-time job as well, a job, they see it as a ministry.
This year, some routes were changed when students were moved to other schools, which he said was hard on some of his drivers.
“When we changed the route and moved the elementary kids to separate buses from the Middle school and High School, some of my drivers came in and literally broke down and cried,” Ayers said. “They said, ‘Those are my kids and I want to keep them on my bus.’ Sometimes you don’t realize how the changes I make sitting behind a desk are going to affect my drivers.”
He said often times, his drivers will get personally involved with some of the students on their bus and will come to him with concerns about the child or needs the driver knows the child and his family might be having.
“I’ve got drivers on staff who have been driving 25 years and they see those children from the time they can barely get on the bus to the time they can jump off with one step. They see those children and their children and children’s children,” Ayers said.
During Bus Driver Appreciation Week, parents and students who ride the bus are encouraged to find a way to let their school bus driver know they’re valued.
Ayers says it doesn’t have to anything big to make a big impression with the driver.
“Just send them a thank you note,” Ayers said. “Some of the smaller children will color and give them a picture of a bus. You can just come and say thank you. You can also stop by the transporation building and bring cookies or put notes in their mailboxes. Just little things mean a lot.”
Other ideas, Ayers said is to make cookies, or bring coffee and donuts or make a poster thanking the driver for their hard work.
The Franklin County Schools Transporation office located off Highway 145 at 160 Hubbard Road in Carnesville.