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NEWS RELEASES 2008-09

NEWS RELEASES 2008-09 :: FEBRUARY 4, 2009

PARENTS AND CHILDREN ENCOURAGED TO "LOVE THE BUS;" VALENTINE'S DAY PROVIDES OPPORTUNITY TO HONOR SCHOOL BUS DRIVERS

As part of the third annual Love the Bus program, the American School Bus Council (ASBC) is encouraging parents, students and teachers to thank the men and women who take more than 26 million children safely to and from schools each day.

"The school bus is the safest way for students to travel to and from school," North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) Transportation Services Section Chief Derek Graham said. "That bus is 'built like a tank' and offers unmatched protection to school bus riders." In North Carolina, over 700,000 public school students ride in 14,000 yellow buses each day.

NCDPI School Support Division Director Ben Matthews said the benefits of school bus transportation are not limited to safety. As more students take the school bus to school, the environmental impacts are significant. "Traffic congestion and pollution can be reduced around schools, not to mention the fuel savings for family cars. In this economy, lots of families are looking for ways to trim their fuel budgets," Matthews said.

To help celebrate Love the Bus, parents, teachers and children are encouraged to visit the national program's Web site, www.LoveTheBus.com, to share stories about their favorite bus drivers and make interactive valentines to email or print and give to their bus driver.

Ken Hedgecock of Thomas Built Buses in High Point and a member of the ASBC is encouraging encouraging parents, teachers and children to thank school bus drivers for the wonderful job they do every day. "Love the Bus officially takes place in February, but we hope bus drivers are recognized throughout the year for all they do," he said.

The Love the Bus program, founded in 2007 and coordinated by the American School Bus Council is not only a way to raise awareness and appreciation for the hundreds of thousands of school bus drivers who safely transport school children on 480,000 buses, but also provides an opportunity for parents and children to learn more about the safety and environmental benefits of school bus transportation.

North Carolina school districts will be hosting a variety of activities to show their support for their bus drivers. For a list of those activities, please visit www.ncbussafety.org and click on the LOVE THE BUS link. Additional information on the ASBC is available online at www.americanschoolbuscouncil.org. For more information on North Carolina's program, please contact the NCDPI Communications division at 919.807.3450.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 107 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.


For more information:
NCDPI Communications and Information, 919.807.3450.