Honk if you love a bus driver!

Did you know that in New York, more than 2.3 million children ride a yellow school bus each day? And that there are 50,000 school buses in the state?

Everyone knows what a school bus looks like. It’s that special color yellow, somewhere between the color of the sun and the color of a canteloupe. Its rows of windows are like a moving building.

Chances are, you know someone on one of those buses — a child, grandchild, niece or neighbor. You may even know the bus driver. Many NYSUT members either drive the bus, or are there as teachers or school-related professionals to greet students when they get off the bus in the morning. Many help students get to the bus at the end of the school day. Some members ride the bus as coaches, monitors or chaperones for school events.

And everyone is entrusting their safety to the driver of that bus. The driver contends with road conditions, traffic, weather, the condition of the bus and noisy students.

The New York Association for Pupil Transportation has dedicated this week as School Transportation Personnel Appreciation Week, and NYSUT is happy to join in the celebration.

School bus drivers must be certified by the State Education Department before they can transport students. That certification includes completion of required training at an approved Office of Pupil Transportation location. The State Education Department mandates the standards that are applied to all school bus drivers in this state. Additionally, all drivers must attend a refresher course each year.

SED also administers a safety training program which uses 1,000 school bus driver instructors to provide bus drivers, monitors and attendants with an introduction to safety training and an annual refresher training as well.

It provides ongoing professional development for school bus drivers. APT hosts an annual conference in mid-July; this year it will be in Albany and feature three dozen educational workshops and sessions, as well as a trade show.

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