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School bus drivers should be best of best

Staff Report • Oct 4, 2012 at 9:02 AM

It’s one of the most important jobs imaginable. A school bus driver is responsible for seeing that his or her passengers get to their locations safe and sound.

Children get on school buses every day and are delivered to their destinations without incident. But when something does go wrong, as it did recently for the passengers of bus 88 from David Crockett High School, it makes us all shudder.

Last month’s school bus accident on a narrow road in rural Washington County has renewed calls to buckle up students. It also calls attention to the need to hire and keep the best bus drivers that we can.

As we’ve said in this space many times before, finding and keeping the right individuals behind the wheel is not always easy. Low pay and poor benefits may be part of the problem. If that is indeed the case, it’s time for school officials, parents and taxpayers to decide what price they are willing to place on the safety of schoolchildren.

Salary has been a great stumbling block to hiring dependable drivers, but low pay is not the only factor. Many would-be applicants for the job say they don’t want to deal with the disciplinary problems that plague school systems both large and small.

Driving a school bus is more than shifting gears and opening a door at the stops. Drivers are responsible for the safety of every passenger on that bus. As we’ve noted here many times before, school bus drivers carry precious cargo. Parents, school administrators and taxpayers should insist that the most qualified drivers are hired to transport that cargo.

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