A Letter to the School Bus Driver On the First Day of Kindergarten

BY  |  Thursday, Sep 06, 2012 6:45am  |  COMMENTS (5)

Dear School Bus Driver,

This is my first time at this, and I’m surprised at how nervous I am. I don’t like to think of myself as an overly-anxious parent, you know? So, please don’t take this the wrong way. I don’t want to tell you how to do your job. I certainly don’t appreciate when people try to tell me how to do mine. But I just want you to know, up front, that when you pull away from the end of my block today you’ll be taking my heart with you.

I’ve pictured the yellow rear-end of the school bus pulling away from the curb so many times this summer.  And each time makes my eyes water and my mouth turn down. This kid, my son, is so excited to ride the bus to school. So excited. But he’s also nervous and worried about finding his class and about rough kids sitting next to him and about whether someone will make fun of the t-shirt he picked out for his first day of kindergarten. I don’t want him to get special attention, not more than anyone else’s child, but could you do me a favor and give him a grin and a “Good Morning!” when he gets on the bus? I’m sure you would do that anyway, but it’s my first time at this, and I don’t know.

I do know that you have a schedule to keep and scores of children to drive around all morning. It’s not an easy job, and I know how other drivers are around here. But you should know that I get nervous even when my own parents are driving my son around. I haven’t even let him ride in a car driven by trusted friends. Heck, I get nervous driving around myself with the way people chat on phones and race through lights.  And I want you to know that I am trusting you to bring my son, my heart, to his first day of school safely and on-time to start kindergarten.

And, no. I don’t want to tell you how to do your job, but I know how horrible kids can be sometimes. I know how mean and vicious and ugly they can be. And that’s what we all remember more easily. I know that. But that’s not my kid – and with any luck it won’t ever be. So please, School Bus Driver, when you open the doors of your bus to let my heart climb up those big steps and sit in a seat that’s two sizes too large, please don’t mind the frowning, teary-eyed lady who looks like she is about to implode. Just be careful with her heart – disguised as a five-year-old boy.

Thank you, and have a great start to the school year!

~ A Mother


photo: flickr


  1. POSTED BY Holly Korus  |  September 06, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

    Thanks for making me cry —again today! We are lucky because we know our bus driver from my daughter who is now a walker her name is Mary and she is the best. Nice and safe.

    I have seen certain bus drivers that race through town. Kristen what do we do to keep the drivers from speeding. Is there a # to call? What about making sure the bus aids are watching out for the kids?

  2. POSTED BY Kristin  |  September 06, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

    Happily, our bus seemed to have a very safe driver and an aide who seemed quite pleasant and attentive. As we were driving to our school’s coffee hour for parents, however, I saw an SUV on Ridgewood try to go around a landscaping truck that had stopped for a parent and child to cross to a Glen Ridge elementary school. Almost ended very badly.

  3. POSTED BY lisadavies  |  September 06, 2012 @ 8:01 pm

    Lovely post Kristin….I am a blubbering wreck today. I’m building up to the bus…..one day at a time!

  4. POSTED BY Kristin  |  September 06, 2012 @ 10:45 pm

    Thanks, Lisa! He got off the bus bubbling with excitement…for day two! I guess something went right. 🙂

  5. POSTED BY davebross  |  September 09, 2012 @ 11:05 am

    Full disclosure: I’ve been a school bus driver for a long time and even “wrote the book”.

    I admire the parents who are smart enough to call me up and ask questions.

    You should aleays “feel out” your driver and see what you think.
    Not all drivers are up to the task and driver screening in some places is unbelievably slack.
    Politely (non-confrontationally) ask the driver “how much trouble do you have on your bus and how do you handle it.”
    The answer will give you major clues.

    Most drivers fall into one of two camps…easy going or military style.
    Don’t be put off by the military ones. Your child may not enjoy their ride as much but they’ll usually be quite safe. Some routes are so rough this is the only way.
    The easy going ones that can maintain discipline will give your child an enjoyable ride and a bit of an education in social skills.

    As a further comfort…In case of the worst…the buses today can withstand incredible impact and keep everyone safe. some of the new ones have had everyone walk away after head on collisions with trucks.

    The book I wrote about school bus driving is on Amazon Kindle or Smashwords.
    There’s a lot more info there on how to evaluate your driver and the school system. You can read a good piece of it for free at either place.

    Dave Bross

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