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Wake school bus drivers train to avoid drop-off mishaps

Posted August 13, 2009

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— In less than two weeks, 900 school buses will crisscross Wake County. There's little tolerance for error, even when buses are making 25,000 stops a day.

Last year, several Wake County parents complained that their children were dropped off at the wrong bus stop. Wake County Public Schools officials said they have protocols in place to help keep it from happening again.

School bus drivers train to avoid drop-off mishaps School bus drivers train to avoid drop-off mishaps

A big yellow bus has been Nytoisha Bennett's mobile office for the past 16 years, and another school year is right around the corner for the veteran bus driver.

“(I have a) new group of kids, new school, new bus,” she said.

Bennett is one of 886 bus drivers for Wake County schools. Every other year they attend a defensive driving workshop. Every year their routes are re-configured to accommodate new students. So before school starts, drivers take their bus for a road test.

“They’ll spend a half day going out and run their route to make certain they hit every stop,” said Wake schools' Senior Transportation Director Bob Snidemiller.

That's the goal, but it hasn't always happened. Last year, a Wake bus driver dropped off a first-grader at the wrong bus stop. There were two other similar incidents with year-round students.

“The best thing we can do is make certain bus drivers understand the route,” Snidemiller said.

All Wake County kindergartners and first-graders will get an ID tag on the first day. It has the student's name, school, phone number and bus stop location.

“For your kindergartners and first-graders, you have to read their tags and make sure what you have on the tag matches with information given on your route description,” Bennett said.

At the end of a route, when the driver turns off the bus, an alarm sounds. To turn off the alarm, bus drivers have to press a button in the back of the bus, which forces them to walk the aisle and make sure no child is left behind.

“We can’t rush, because we have to be safe. So we get there as best we can and close to schedules as best we can,” Bennett said.

Transportation officials said they have added a phone line in their office to be better respond to any calls or complaints they might receive.

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  • agentm Aug 14, 2009

    wow when are parents are going to step in and teach their kids...i made sure my child knew where she got off at and what bus ...we can not always blame the driver ....sometimes i see some peoples kids so shelter they have no street sense or sense of directions ....we are living in different times now you havr to teach your child.

  • shortcake53 Aug 13, 2009

    There is nothing more frightening than standing at the bus stop and everyone else's child gets off except yours. Someone at school put my 5 yr old on the wrong bus, even tho he protested, and he ended up taking a tour of the city while I was in a total panic at this end. That was the end of bus riding for us.

  • ShareTheRoad Aug 13, 2009

    heh, something tells me Debbie Vair might be able to accomplish some destruction. If her work ethic is as high quality as her campaign website, we're in trouble if she gets elected. What's up with this?

    http://www.debbievair.com/Home_Page.html

    What are her objectives? What are her goals? other than 'saving the slaves', that is. What on earth??

  • time4real Aug 13, 2009

    lloks like 3 of us will vote, but that probably won't get much change accomplished unless you get your lazy neighbors up and out. don't whine when you get more "year-round calendar, assigning students for diversity and criticizing county commissioners for not doing enough to support education."
    There's a LOT more destruction the next board can do to us and our families and if you think I'm kidding, sit on your rear ends!

  • ShareTheRoad Aug 13, 2009

    "Millberg has been a vocal supporter of the school district and its policies, including converting schools to a year-round calendar, assigning students for diversity and criticizing county commissioners for not doing enough to support education."

    I'm glad this woman felt that 4 years on the board was enough for her. She certainly wouldn't have had my vote anyways.

    For those of you who DON'T know what district you are in, when to vote, etc, here is a useful site:

    http://www.wakegov.com/elections/default.htm

    Click on "View My Voter Registration Information" and fill in the form. It will give you your polling location and all your districts as well.

    Educate yourselves, make a difference. We don't all have to agree on the same things, but when we educate ourselves and vote in those who have the same views as we do, we really can make a difference.

    There's no better time to get involved in elections than NOW.

  • ShareTheRoad Aug 13, 2009

    time4real....im in district 1, and you bet your rump i'll be voting. its the smaller elections that bring in the more informed voters, so hopefully enough informed parents will show up and make a difference. i dont have a lot of faith in politics, but i at least do my part so i have the right to complain, lol

  • Nunya123 Aug 13, 2009

    redapace - thats a good one. Tattoo the barcode on my sons forehead. Maybe then he'd comb his hair to atleast cover that up. :) Unfortunately, you probably gave some idiot an idea and they will be complaining that we should do that. Then when they do, they'll complain that "big brother" is watching and it is too expensive to do it.

  • time4real Aug 13, 2009

    didn't mean to pose such a hard question to you folks!

  • Professor Aug 13, 2009

    ~~what does this story have to do with bussing students?~~

    Sugar, please reread the story. It is certainly related. They don't want no kid getting on the wrong bus, or getting off at the wrong place. THINK!

  • killing_me_softly Aug 13, 2009

    ~~what does this story have to do with bussing students?~~

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