Longview ISD’s yellow buses were on the roads Saturday as drivers were running their routes to knock on doors of younger students in hopes of meeting parents or guardians ahead of Monday’s start of the school year.
“We are knocking on some doors this morning to try to make the parents with students in grades from pre-k to third grade aware that school is about to start, to put names with faces, and to make sure that they know who their bus driver and monitor are,” said Greg Wright, who has been driving school buses for more than 22 years, 16 years of them for Longview ISD. “We are also making sure that they know how important it is that they know where and when the bus will be making a stop for their child and that they are there when it does.”
For safety reasons, children in grades pre-k through third grade who ride the bus must have a parent/guardian or an older sibling at their afternoon drop-off point or the student will not be released from the bus, according to Wright.
“It’s really serious because if a bus is there waiting on a parent, it is probably holding up traffic and it is making other students and their parents late,” Wright said. “The bus is going to be on time and the parents need to be there. That would help us a whole lot — just for the parent being at their stop on time.”
Wright recommends a parent be at the student’s drop-off point 10 minutes early in the event the bus is ahead of schedule.
Wright also said the opportunity to meet his riders and their parents ahead of the school year gives him peace of mind. He said it helps to put a student’s face with their parent and to assure him the right person is receiving the student.
Sara Torres, 13, who is home schooled but has three siblings who will be riding the bus, answered Wright’s knock on her door Saturday. She said she will be the one receiving her younger twin sisters, Addison and Chloe, who are 7 years old.
“It makes me feel good getting to meet the bus driver and to know that they are doing this to make sure that my sisters are safe,” Sara said.
LISD has 3,200 students scheduled to ride buses this school year and 60 bus drivers to deliver them to and from school, according to Transportation Supervisor Nancy Hawkins.
“Last year we had a large number of younger students riding the bus, so we are doing this so they can meet their bus driver ahead of time to maybe help keep them from becoming too overwhelmed during their first days going to school,” Hawkins said.
Longview ISD begins classes on Monday.