by Dan Shallenberger

I have been a school bus driver for 10 years and I have a request for all residents everywhere: please please please be patient with our bus stops and follow the law. I know it stinks getting stuck behind a school bus, and it stinks even more when there’s a stop that’s annoyingly long. There’s always a reason if I am stopped for a lengthy period of time, longer than a usual “drop-n-drive-away” stop.

Today I was stopped for my elementary route, and one student was crying as she was exiting the bus. Apparently she is really struggling with something, and after school is when she let out all the stress that had been accumulating during the day.

I talked with her and her friend for a moment to try to learn about her situation and encourage her to have a fun evening and start off tomorrow positively.

Doing that caused me to be at my stop for longer than usual, maybe 1 minute. Now I know that can feel like a long time when you’re stopped behind me, but deciding to fly through my stop sign is incredibly dangerous. I’m sure whoever did this was truly in a hurry and needed to be somewhere, and I’m sorry for holding them up. But putting kids’ lives at risk is the worst possible option.

Please be patient when behind school buses. I know it can be frustrating, but trust us that there’s a good reason when we’re taking too long. These kids are very important to us and we are often more than just a “driver” to them, and they need positive and supportive interactions everywhere they can get them.

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