Student Transportation Industry, Feds Celebrate ‘Love the Bus’

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An appearance by FMCSA’s Anne Ferro and NHTSA’s Ron Medford at this year’s American School Bus Council “Love the Bus” event earlier this week was boosted by a blog posting by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood that highlighted the role played by school buses nationwide.

While unable to attend the Feb. 21 celebration in Sunderland, Md., LaHood did attend last year’s event, which was held at an elementary school in Takoma Park, Md., located just north of Washington, D.C.

“I have to confess to some regret today that I could not attend yesterday’s “Love The Bus” month celebration at Sunderland Elementary School in Maryland,” LaHood wrote in his blog on Feb. 22. “As a former teacher, I hate to miss a chance to recognize the valuable service our nation’s school buses provide.”

This year’s event was held not far from the shores of Chesapeake Bay and featured FMCSA Administrator Ferro and NHTSA Deputy Administrator Medford, who were greeted by approximately 80 first graders. The National School Transportation Association, which had members including President Magda Dimmendaal in attendance, said Ferro explained to the students that their bus drivers must take special tests to ensure they are the safest drivers.

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NSTA President Magda Dimmendaal, left, greets FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro at the Feb. 21 “Love the Bus” event.

Meanwhile, Dimmendaal told the children that three generations of the same family are bus drivers for the local Calvert County Public Schools system.

“There is a daughter, her mother and her grandmother who are all helping you get to school safely each day,” she said.

NASDPTS President Mike Simmons, who attended the event, said he asked the students questions such as how many ride the bus, do they like it and what kind of safety rules they are taught. To the latter, some of the responses included “Don’t climb under the seats” and “Don’t stick your head out the window.”

The students, who were accompanied by their teachers, also received yellow ASBC School Bus Champion T-shirts and school bus toys. The children also handed out Valentine’s cards to their school bus drivers.

“I thought it was great; I thoroughly enjoyed it,” added Simmons, who was joined by NASDPTS Past-President Charlie Hood and Executive Director Bob Riley.

Also representing NSTA were President-Elect Tim Flood, Secretary-Treasurer Todd Monteferrario, Past-President Donnie Fowler, board member Gail Hyser, and NSTA Safety and Security Chairman Gary Catapano.

Representing NAPT were President Alexandra Robinson, Past-President Linda Bluth and Executive Director Michael Martin.

NAPT’s Robinson spoke first, then NSTA’s Dimmendal, who turned the microphone over to NASDPTS Simmons, who in turn introduced NHTSA’s Medord. Medord then introduced Ferro.

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First-grade students at Sunderland Elementary School received ASBC Yellow School Bus Champion T-shirts during the event.