School Bus Drivers’ Appreciation Day

The following was released by the Kansas Department of Education.

Oct. 24 proclaimed School Bus Drivers’ Appreciation Day in Kansas

Kansas School Bus Safety Contest winners invited to Statehouse for proclamation signing

TOPEKA — With four Kansas students standing by his side, Gov. Jeff Colyer put pen to paper earlier this month to declare Wednesday, Oct. 24, as School Bus Drivers’ Appreciation Day.

This year’s Kansas School Bus Safety Poster Contest winners were invited to the Statehouse on Monday, Oct. 1, for the official proclamation signing. Winners are Josie Oehmke, 8, now a third-grade student at Linn Elementary School, Barnes-Hanover-Linn USD 223, first place in Division 1 (kindergarten through second grade); Emily Britt, 11, now a sixth-grade student at Central Middle School, Columbus USD 493, first place in Division 2 (third through fifth grades); Kinley Nielsen, 14, now a ninth-grade student at El Dorado High School, El Dorado USD 490, first place in Division 3 (grades sixth through eighth); and Austin Sanders, 9, now a third-grade student at Linn Elementary School, Barnes-Hanover-Linn USD 223, first place in Division 4 (special education).

Kansas has 4,098 school bus drivers with commercial driver’s licenses who are responsible for a total of 224,355 student passengers.

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. 22-26 this year, and the theme is My Driver – My Safety Hero.

Jason Beyer, assistant director of transportation for Emporia USD 253 and president of the Kansas State Pupil Transportation Association, accompanied the winning artists to the Statehouse. Beyer started with Emporia as a bus driver in 2001. He still serves as a substitute bus driver when needed.

“This day is important because safety is an important issue,” Beyer said. “We are celebrating the important job our drivers do. We owe them a huge thank you for taking those extra precautions to make sure our buses are safe for our students. Those extra steps are extremely important.”

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.

For more information about National School Bus Safety Week or the National Association for Pupil Transportation, visit https://www.napt.org/nsbsw.

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