Bus driver training pays off in safety

Two Clark-Pleasant bus drivers have been recognized for their actions in emergency situations.

Mark Howe was on the fourth stop in his route, dropping students off after school. Suddenly, children started yelling that a student needed help.

Howe saw a student having a seizure and responded just as he had been trained. A short time later, an ambulance and fire truck pulled up. The student made a full recovery after spending a night in the hospital.

Howe’s quick response ultimately saved the student’s life, Clark-Pleasant transportation director Bob Downin said.

Another bus driver, Shirley Snider, also was honored after she stopped to drop off a student and saw burglars in the home. Snider was taking students home from school on a Wednesday, when students are released about two hours earlier than usual.

Snider was about to drop a student off at a Greenwood home but saw people moving around inside. Then she saw men with guns leaving through a side door. She kept the student on the bus and drove about two miles away, pulled over and called police.

“She not only kept her composure, but she got the bus to a safe place to write down the license number,” Downin said.

In both cases, the drivers did everything they should. They remembered their training, kept the students calm and even continued the rest of their route, Downin said.

Bus drivers get 40 hours of training each year. They are trained in multiple scenarios, including fires on the bus, getting in an accident and performing CPR on a student, but even their training can’t cover every incident that might happen.

“I’ve been doing this 20 years, and I’ve seen a lot of stuff happen, but I would say that neither one of these I’ve encountered before,” Downin said. “We’ve had some bad wrecks, threatening situations and buses on fire, but nothing like this. This was a little unique.”

The incidents these drivers faced are not typical, but they show how the extensive annual training all drivers receive pays off.

We commend these and all the other drivers who ferry Johnson County’s most precious cargo — our children — every day.

At issue

Bus drivers must be prepared for many challenges as they ferry children to and from school.

Our point

Two incidents in the Clark-Pleasant district show the value of driver training.