I drive a school bus for the 36th most populous county in the USA! And I'm not your typical middle aged/old driver!
Ask away fellow Redditors!
I drive a school bus for the 36th most populous county in the USA! And I'm not your typical middle aged/old driver!
Ask away fellow Redditors!
Comments: 508 • Responses: 103 • Date: 2013-07-20 02:35:07 UTCsource
SomeRandomRedditor125 karma2013-07-20 02:37:30 UTC
How often does the screeching of the children make you think of driving off a cliff or into oncoming traffic?
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Sto_Da_Dio160 karma2013-07-20 02:42:17 UTC
When I first started, it was every single day. However, now that I'm more comfortable being captain of the ship, I lay down the law quickly and early on so as to make sure there's no screaming on my bus. Tears were shed, but everyone was better for it.
StoryGopher33 karma2013-07-20 14:56:53 UTC
I took a city bus to and from school. It was often the same bus driver, Larry. The bus wasn't very crowded on the way there but on the way home it was packed. Larry also referred to himself as the captain of his ship and laid down the law from time to time, especially on people who pushed their way to the front of the line. Mad respect.
Sto_Da_Dio305 karma2013-07-20 15:03:05 UTC
That's what you have to do. It makes it incredibly difficult to safely navigate a bus in such congested areas when the battle of Thermopylae is happening in the background.
hemingwayszombycorps114 karma2013-07-20 14:37:26 UTC
Quickly, do the wheels on the bus go round and round!? DO THEY!?
Sto_Da_Dio293 karma2013-07-20 14:49:40 UTC
I will end you.
cambullrun74 karma2013-07-20 02:43:14 UTC
is it true that you're only cool if you pee your pants?
Sto_Da_Dio64 karma2013-07-20 02:53:05 UTC
BMW1M43 karma2013-07-20 08:18:36 UTC
Have you ever seen a kid not being able to hold it any longer and just have an explosion of shit and piss all over themselves / your bus.
Sto_Da_Dio121 karma2013-07-20 14:20:32 UTC
This is one of my worst fears to be honest. That some kid just has a massive explosive bowel movement on the bus.
When I see kids fidgeting a lot in their seat I always yell to them "do you gotta poop or something bro?"
Al3xanderdelag42 karma2013-07-20 02:40:51 UTC
Have you ever had a fight break out on the bus? If so, what was the roughest one?
Sto_Da_Dio66 karma2013-07-20 02:44:16 UTC
Luckily there's never been one on any of my routes. However, I know of fights that have had teenagers heads bashed into (and subsequently breaking) a window.
sundaymetakat37 karma2013-07-20 02:41:17 UTC
What is the most bizarre thing that a kid has done on the bus?
Sto_Da_Dio127 karma2013-07-20 02:48:24 UTC
One of my kindergartners from the most recent school year licked the seats of the bus. Every. Single. Day.
SleepySheepy28 karma2013-07-20 04:34:40 UTC
I've done that before. They taste terrible!
I_R_CLEVER30 karma2013-07-20 04:40:25 UTC
Not where I've sat
Sto_Da_Dio48 karma2013-07-20 05:08:14 UTC
Maybe you licked those seats after someone else.
Such_Great_Heights_35 karma2013-07-20 02:58:32 UTC
What do you do during field trips when the kids are off on the trip? And also if you could choose to have a different job would you take it and what would you choose?
Sto_Da_Dio80 karma2013-07-20 03:02:13 UTC
One of the most asked questions when people find out my profession!
It depends on the trip. If its a sports trip, I get into the games for free (though I always pay because it helps out the program) and I sit and watch the game. Athletes really respect you if you actually cheer them on.
Some trips to parks and such, I'll often get invited to walk around with the class. Sometimes I just take a nap on the bus.
I absolutely love my job, however I'm currently in school pursuing a degree in the IT field, so in a few years time I'll be leaving bus driving land and it will certainly be hard but the pay increase will be nice!
Smiley_Pete29 karma2013-07-20 02:55:04 UTC
Did you seen the video that was in the news last year about the bus monitor being harassed by middleschoolers? link
What authority does the driver have to step in situations like this? What would you have done and how much trouble would you get in for belting the hell out of those kids?
Sto_Da_Dio57 karma2013-07-20 02:58:59 UTC
I would be fired indefinitely for laying my hands on any student unless drastic measures called for it. (We're taught to never use physical force but F that if someone is in danger).
That video is a great example of how kids behave when they either have no discipline or when their parents aren't around (so still a lack of discipline).
The only authority I really have as a driver to write up an incident report which gets handed to the principle and to my supervisors. There are also cameras (with sound!) on most buses that would be used as evidence. If that occurred and I was still at the school, I would call on the radio to dispatch to have the principle sent out to take the child off the bus and the report would still be written. That goes in the child's permanent file.
Smiley_Pete28 karma2013-07-20 03:09:03 UTC
Hmm, well how bout this: what if, in that same scenario, I came on the bus and belted those little shits like 15h century heretics? Would you turn me in or let it slide?
Sto_Da_Dio61 karma2013-07-20 03:12:26 UTC
Put it to you this way, if you were to hide in the bushes about 100ft from their bus stop and waiting to do that once the bus was out of sight I wouldn't know and then everybody would sleep at night.
babeigotastewgoing4 karma2013-07-21 04:25:15 UTC
except that kid
Sto_Da_Dio3 karma2013-07-21 15:43:56 UTC
Shalynhuetter16 karma2013-07-20 16:33:16 UTC
Awww. Still using the good ole "permanent file" tactic!
Sto_Da_Dio36 karma2013-07-20 17:06:03 UTC
fljared20 karma2013-07-20 03:00:07 UTC
If you could change one thing about your job, what would it be?
Sto_Da_Dio57 karma2013-07-20 03:04:32 UTC
Guarantee of an air conditioned bus. You have to have a few years of seniority to get a guaranteed air conditioned bus as your assigned unit.
For a few months of the year its fine to not have it. But with wonderful Virginia "springs" and summers. The last 3 months of school can be absolute sweaty hell.
Graceful_Bear31 karma2013-07-20 14:00:37 UTC
Air conditioned school buses exist?
Sto_Da_Dio7 karma2013-07-20 17:55:12 UTC
My county is slowly but surely phasing out all non air conditioned buses. But we also have a budget many times larger than most county school systems.
aaron4166 karma2013-07-20 12:34:20 UTC
Do those without AC at least have driver fans? I used to drive routes for my university and even if we had an old bus, they all had fans.
Sto_Da_Dio11 karma2013-07-20 14:35:41 UTC
Yes, the old buses have fans. Whether or not they are actually able to point at the driver is a different story. They're generally used as defoggers for the front windows.
da_asparagus18 karma2013-07-20 03:49:22 UTC
I always enjoyed my bus driver. She was such an awesome lady who would give up candy on Halloween, before Christmas break, and on the last day of school. And then I had fun and got to meet some bus drivers on marching band trips. You guys are awesome people.
Ever had to drive a bunch of marching band kids/other band kids?
Ever had a kid or an incident that sticks in your mind?
What's your favorite thing about your job?
Sto_Da_Dio87 karma2013-07-20 03:57:13 UTC
We have a lot of awesome drivers and some real sour pusses. I'm glad you had a good one!
I have done marching band! They are typically one of the most fun groups to have. Everybody always seems cheerful and happy to be there!
I've lucked out and avoided any bad incidents. So the things that stick with my are generally good. Its a great feeling when elementary children want you to sign their yearbooks at the end of the year. My best memory so far was from this past school year when I had 3 6th grade girls cry on the last day because I wouldn't be their driver anymore. I got a little teary eyed when they said that.
My favorite thing is realizing how BIG of an impact I can have a child's life when I only seem them for MAYBE an hour a day. I've had elementary schoolers tell me they like me more than their teachers. I've had high schoolers come to me for advice on problems in their social lives. That feeling is unbeatable for me.
da_asparagus7 karma2013-07-20 04:11:19 UTC
My district was/is lucky to have really awesome drivers all around. I can only remember a few sour pusses, but they were really old and crabby old ladies. Most of the time, the ones who drove us for marching band were actually parents. But the ones who weren't really loved us and appreciated all of the funny stuff we did (including breaking a glow stick and someone putting the stuff on their skin.)
Sto_Da_Dio14 karma2013-07-20 04:20:36 UTC
My county is pretty good about having "ride a-longs" where either a supervisor or someone higher rides on the bus for an afternoon with the driver to see how they drive but also how they interact with the children. In recent years they've really tried to crackdown on drivers who aren't generally happy and engaging with children.
I can see how this job might be very taxing mentally and physically, but my mindset is that no matter how bad the previous day was that the next one can always be great. Some drivers/people just like being miserable and making sure people know how miserable they are.
da_asparagus3 karma2013-07-20 04:24:33 UTC
I can count on one hand how many "ride a-longs" I've seen. My district can probably only afford one to go between about 50 buses and some buses are way worse than others. I remember on a bus I rode to my mom's work was just awful. The older kids (8th grade-Sophomores) were just raunchy. I saw some things that, as a 6th grader, I could have gone without seeing. And the worst part was that the Bus Driver didn't care.
Sto_Da_Dio6 karma2013-07-20 05:19:24 UTC
That's the worst fear for the higher ups in transportation. They cringe whenever a parent calls to complain about something little johnny/suzie heard on the bus.
There's plenty of stuff I don't tolerate on my bus and I make it known on day 1. I also show the kids the stack of write ups I have and remind them that I'm an hourly employee, I don't mind getting paid to sit and do paperwork to write them up. But I also don't rule my bus like a dictator.
ToughJuice1715 karma2013-07-20 16:00:31 UTC
That Veronica Vaughn really is a piece of ace huh?
Sto_Da_Dio15 karma2013-07-20 16:58:30 UTC
number40015 karma2013-07-20 04:26:55 UTC
Sto_Da_Dio30 karma2013-07-20 04:38:10 UTC
I like to think I'm a cool bus driver. I mean, what's cooler than a 23 year old bearded driver wearing bad ass Oakleys?
I've had a few high schoolers who were loud and would cuss and talk about inappropriate subjects but I'm always cool with it. I don't tolerate bullying, violence, harassment, or drug use. Everything else within reason is cool in my books. Hell, half the shit they talk about is hilarious and very nostalgic for me.
number40010 karma2013-07-20 04:41:05 UTC
Sto_Da_Dio19 karma2013-07-20 04:52:32 UTC
There are worse jobs for less money. That's my motto on bad days.
Derpsans14 karma2013-07-20 02:41:52 UTC
How many pukes have you had to pick up?
Sto_Da_Dio45 karma2013-07-20 02:45:04 UTC
3 pukes. Every single incident haunts you because its never a little. Its always a lot.
SinkHoleDeMayo8 karma2013-07-20 04:10:08 UTC
How do you pick up a puke?
Sto_Da_Dio44 karma2013-07-20 04:11:47 UTC
Slowly with low quality paper towels. Making sure you suffer and are on the edge of creating your own puke the whole time.
brandybelle16 karma2013-07-20 05:17:28 UTC
Try kitty litter next time. It soaks up the liquid then you can easily sweep it up. It also smells better than puke.
Sto_Da_Dio49 karma2013-07-20 05:22:25 UTC
Man, now I gotta carry kitty litter on my bus? You people are breaking my balls here!
no0gre13 karma2013-07-20 04:04:00 UTC
Worst situation with an annoying or rude child?
Sto_Da_Dio42 karma2013-07-20 04:08:06 UTC
This one 4th grader on my bus last school year would constantly play Minecraft on his iPad (I drove in a very affluent area). He would always be yelling "CREEPERS" and other random Minecraft nonsense first thing in the morning and every afternoon.
He would also constantly leave his violin on the bus and he would harass this 6th grade girl. He would curse and call people "assholes" and "bastards" and he never seemed to remember that those were curse words. He was very very weird and I wouldn't be surprised if he had some social disorder.
derolitus25 karma2013-07-20 17:25:20 UTC
careful, you might not want to go against people with social disorders on reddit.... it's like their nest.
Sto_Da_Dio32 karma2013-07-20 17:26:51 UTC
Smidgens12 karma2013-07-20 03:49:25 UTC
Excellent beard. Are you on first name basis any kids?
Sto_Da_Dio28 karma2013-07-20 03:59:08 UTC
Its a hit with the older kids.
I insist that my kids call me Mr. Zak. That way they aren't cursing when they mess up my last name and we can seem friendly while at the same time keeping my "Mr" title for the respect factor. I won't lie, I can go the whole year without knowing some kid's names but oh well.
TheRealAK12 karma2013-07-20 05:28:13 UTC
one of my great unanswered life questions: who shuts the door when the bus driver gets off?
Sto_Da_Dio16 karma2013-07-20 05:32:36 UTC
Easy, the bus driver! We have keys, just like with our personal cars that we take home with us. We walk out the door of the bus, push the doors closed and lock them.
Come on! You never noticed that lock just to the right of those doors?!
H0lycrap0la9 karma2013-07-20 04:51:56 UTC
Are you strict about random kids going to someone else's house without a bus pass?
Sto_Da_Dio20 karma2013-07-20 05:02:44 UTC
For middle school and high school I really don't care. I'm supposed to but I figure those kids are grown enough to handle their business.
For elementary school I'm incredibly strict about it. The WORST feeling in the world would be to lose a little kid. Not know who they were or what stop they got off at. This is especially important for children getting off at a stop with a lot of kids.
nbd7128 karma2013-07-20 04:34:15 UTC
What time do you have to wake up? I thought getting up at 530 to catch my 600 bus sucked.
EDIT: I saw that you worked for FCPS, I happen to go there (area 2/3 i think)
EDIT2: Does the camera front and center actually do anything? Can it be viewed in real time?
Sto_Da_Dio7 karma2013-07-20 04:46:21 UTC
I wake up at 4:30am and I'm out the door on my way to my bus around 4:45am. Its rough especially when I don't get home until 6 or 6:30pm some nights. But you get used to it. I live in Lorton and parked my bus last year at Langley high school so its about a 35 minute commute in the morning if I'm not dragging ass.
What school do you go to? If you don't mind me asking of course!
Response to your 2nd edit: 99% of the time its recording to a tape located in a box under one of the seats! It isn't viewed in real time. It records for a few days whenever the bus is turned on then it records over itself. Basically if there's a reported incident the supervisor comes as soon as possible to take the tape out to see what happened.
nbd7121 karma2013-07-20 05:22:25 UTC
Hot damn that's early. I'm not sure how to disguise this but I went to CHS and then went to FX for Academy.
Also! When I was a patrol in elementary school there was a button on the radio that we'd press (I think it was the triangularly shaped one to the far right) if the driver passed out and we were in the middle of nowhere. The dispatcher on the other side would say "Confirm or deny" or something of the sort. Are there any other interesting things about the radio? Is it encrypted? What sorts of jargon is used?
Sto_Da_Dio8 karma2013-07-20 05:26:27 UTC
The radio is pretty standard. We have the typical 10-codes: 10-4 mean you understand, 10-8 means en route, 10-9 means take the mic out of your ass I couldn't understand you. Then there are signals like a Signal 31 means there's no parents to meet the kindergartner or special needs kid because that parent is an asshole.
There's also a different channel for each "area" or cluster of high schools. Like Centreville would be Area 3, so there's an Area 3 transportation channel. Keeps things semi-organized. The radio is hilarious to listen to most days.
M_H_M_F8 karma2013-07-20 03:15:49 UTC
Obviously not down with drinking and driving, but when you have time off, what is your favorite beer?
Sto_Da_Dio29 karma2013-07-20 03:20:01 UTC
That's a tough one. Favorite beer that's at "most" bars is probably Fat Tire. If they don't have that I go with the regular Guinness or a Sam Adams.
My FAVORITE brewery however is Flying Dog. I love their coffee stout with desserts. Their Underdog Atlantic Lager is my chill out beer.
bowling_for_soup_fan7 karma2013-07-20 03:54:59 UTC
Sto_Da_Dio24 karma2013-07-20 04:03:17 UTC
At the end of every school year you get to pick your route. The order in which you pick is by seniority. So more senior drivers first then they work down.
The buses are owned and operated by Fairfax County Public Schools so we use the buses solely for FCPS business.
There is summer school but the number of routes are very limited. There are also a good number of field trips that go on with the different summer programs at the schools. Again, its generally assigned by seniority. However, lots of senior drivers decline summer work for vacation. This summer I've made myself available if they need me, but for the most part I'm just chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool.
bowling_for_soup_fan5 karma2013-07-20 04:28:05 UTC
Thanks for the quick response!
two more questions...
Sto_Da_Dio13 karma2013-07-20 04:35:37 UTC
Hey, its Friday night. I'm enjoying some good a/c and a few beers. And the Steam Summer Sale is disappointing me so you guys have my full attention!
Generally you do. However your main bus is due for service every 45 working days (doesn't include weekends or holidays) so then you get a spare. Nobody looks forward to spares. This past year I had non air conditioned spares for 2 months of 85+ degree weather. Mud butt every day all day.
All bus drivers in my county are hourly. The more routes you have the more hours you'll get. I've been very lucky to always average at least 40 hours a week. But that's because I never turn down a route.
I don't get paid over the summer. If you enroll with a local county bank called Apple Federal Credit Union, they will take a little out of each pay check during the year then give you that money during the summer months. Rather than opening yet another bank account, I just saved my money wherever I could during the year so that my bank account could be padded during the summer. I've had a few field trips this summer so that's put some extra money in my wallet. There are summer school routes also, but they are very limited and the senior drivers get first pick of those.
tootom5 karma2013-07-20 08:17:16 UTC
How do they work the routes out so as to give full time hours to bus drivers? Surely everyone is trying to get too/from school at the same time of day, or do kids get dropped/picked up hours before/after school ends?
Sto_Da_Dio3 karma2013-07-20 14:19:23 UTC
Each route has its own amount of hours attached to it. The routes that pull neighborhoods farther from the school build up the most hours. Since the older drivers get first pick, and they know what routes are long and short, they basically pick their hours.
I believe we're only guaranteed 30 hours a week, but that amount seems to change every year.
animesekai3 karma2013-07-20 16:06:12 UTC
Shootin some b ball?
Sto_Da_Dio5 karma2013-07-20 16:59:15 UTC
Only ever outside of the school.
feckfeckfeck7 karma2013-07-20 17:41:42 UTC
When I was a kid, the "scary" bus driver saved my life. I was stepping on to the bus when the hard candy in my mouth lodged itself into my throat. The bus driver leapt out of his seat and heimliched that candy across the bus. This has left me with a lifelong affection for school bus drivers and a fear of hard candy. Are bus drivers taught life saving techniques like this and are you expected to know how to use them?
Sto_Da_Dio7 karma2013-07-20 17:45:17 UTC
We absolutely are. We are all CPR certified and get re-certified by the county. Good on your bus driver for reacting so quickly!
themoodieforester7 karma2013-07-20 02:42:57 UTC
have kids ever had sex on the bus?
Sto_Da_Dio17 karma2013-07-20 02:50:00 UTC
There are lots of incidents every year of oral sex and a hj or similar being performed every year. Luckily nothing like that on my bus (that I know of).
I_R_CLEVER7 karma2013-07-20 02:46:54 UTC
Have you ever needed to use any of the safety protocols that bus-ridership teaches, like using an axe to break open a window?
Sto_Da_Dio17 karma2013-07-20 02:54:21 UTC
Luckily I have not. However, there's a button on the bus you're supposed to only press in the event of someone "hijacking" the bus which opens up the on board microphone directly to central dispatch.
I have accidentally pressed that button multiple times due to fat legs and poor placement of said button.
I_R_CLEVER14 karma2013-07-20 03:05:08 UTC
"Those sneaky hijacking bastards! They're threatening everyone to act normal and not give any signs of a hijacking!"
Sto_Da_Dio18 karma2013-07-20 03:07:02 UTC
The video we watch about hijackings in training is absolutely hilarious. Its a very short video with acting worse than a soap opera. A couple "terrorists" (they're white Italian dudes from New Yawk) hijack a bus with some kids in it and hide it in a warehouse and puts bombs on it. Then police bust in the warehouse and everyone lives happily ever after.
drainsworth7 karma2013-07-20 06:11:23 UTC
Do kids still sing "The wheels on the bus go round and round"?
Sto_Da_Dio38 karma2013-07-20 06:13:11 UTC
I forbid it.
waaitwhaa7 karma2013-07-20 10:46:30 UTC
When i was in middle school I bought one of those metal slurpee straws that was basically a paint ball gun for spit balls. Sorry.
Sto_Da_Dio6 karma2013-07-20 14:29:29 UTC
I'm sorry you're sorry. That's devilishly brilliant.
BigG1237 karma2013-07-20 04:20:17 UTC
Do you enjoy your line of work? What made you want to transport the youth to their designated facilities of education? How's the money in bus driving?
Sto_Da_Dio9 karma2013-07-20 04:24:31 UTC
I enjoy it a lot. I'm a very social person and the amount of interaction I have with not only students but parents, teachers, and other school staff gives me a great outlet. Some days drag on and can be pretty miserable with different weather conditions, but generally every day is a good day.
I previously worked at a Costco Tire Center and I was miserable there. My father works for the county school system and convinced me that the easiest was into the school system was to be a bus driver (they are always in demand in my county). So I did it and it works great for my school schedule.
The money is about as good as you can get without any education past a high school diploma/GED. A few weeks of training and you're making just over $17/hr.
BigG1231 karma2013-07-20 04:25:57 UTC
So you're planning on becoming a teacher/faculty member in the future?
Sto_Da_Dio3 karma2013-07-20 04:29:23 UTC
My county offers a huge array of jobs in a large number of different fields just within the school system itself. I'm going to college for a degree in IT so if I couldn't get a job with a company outside of the school system I could remain in the school system and more than likely get a job with with the schools the IT field. That way I could bring my years of service and everything with me.
At this rate I could retire making a pretty good amount at the tender age of 52. I'd like to stay on track for that.
trotskitty6 karma2013-07-20 04:50:47 UTC
What made you pursue this job? I have mad respect for anyone involved in our public school system, from the teachers, to the custodians and bus drivers, you all work together to make public education possible.
Sto_Da_Dio7 karma2013-07-20 04:59:02 UTC
I'll be honest, at first it was the money and an easy way to get "in the door" of working for the county government.
But I've come to love it and have realized while the money is great, the interaction and relationships that can be built with the students is the #1 thing about the job. Its such a rewarding experience most of the time that its hard to have a bad day.
Public education gets a bad rap, but in a county like Fairfax County they do everything possible to make education one of the most important things. And it shows, FCPS consistently has some of the top ranked public schools in the country. As a graduate of this public school system, I cringe when children in this particular school system say they weren't afforded "opportunities" when in reality they were just too lazy to pursue them.
analogWeapon6 karma2013-07-20 02:44:45 UTC
Do you have other adults on the bus with you to help keep things calm / civil? I've always been amazed that bus drivers are expected to somehow drive a bus full of unbuckled children that are completely berserk after getting out of school.
Sto_Da_Dio7 karma2013-07-20 02:52:43 UTC
I drive "big bus", typically "big bus" drivers don't have attendants. Those are the angelic people who provide the extra attention that certain children need (and they are severely underpaid for their responsibility).
My most recent elementary route consisted of 70+ children daily. I managed quite well in keeping things under control.
Attendants are primarily on "small bus" and USUALLY only have 2 or 3 students to take care of.
analogWeapon1 karma2013-07-20 03:23:39 UTC
Interesting. So the more kids on your bus, the less likely it is you'll have help? Seems weird. But I suppose the particularly unruly ones get taken off the bus eventually anyway.
Sto_Da_Dio2 karma2013-07-20 03:28:39 UTC
Small bus is designated for children with disabilities and behavioral disorders. Ranging from Autism to paralysis and every condition in between. They typically limit the number of children on those buses so that the attendant isn't spread too thin.
Generally those children do not ride the big buses. However, there are children with VERY minor conditions that are allowed to ride the big bus.
While it seems that having 70+ kids on your bus and no help can't be overwhelming, all it takes is for a driver to be able to lay down the law but still be cool. As long as you can connect with the kids and resist yelling or choking them out, they will generally respect you and your rules. If not, there are steps to take to get them off your bus. Riding is a privilege not a right.
zodiak1176 karma2013-07-20 05:01:17 UTC
I'm sorry for all the annoying and rude kids that bus drivers have had on their buses. I was one of those kids and this is my apology even though it isn't a good one.
Sto_Da_Dio13 karma2013-07-20 05:07:33 UTC
Don't sweat it. For every obnoxious kid there's a whole group of very nice quiet kids. Just find comfort in the fact that your driver loved the days you were home sick or on vacation.
syntaxial6 karma2013-07-20 09:53:05 UTC
Are we there yet? :(
Sto_Da_Dio13 karma2013-07-20 14:26:49 UTC
pooroldedgar6 karma2013-07-20 15:00:43 UTC
If you saw a child write, "Rooney eats it," on the back of a bus seat, I'm sure you would have to scold him. But deep down you would be silently approving, correct?
Sto_Da_Dio10 karma2013-07-20 15:12:35 UTC
I would applaud the student for the reference, but still be mad if I couldn't get it off.
dudelikeshismusic5 karma2013-07-20 04:30:15 UTC
My dad went to school in Fairfax County! He said it was a little rough back in his day. Do the kids do anything extreme or are they just typical obnoxious kids?
Sto_Da_Dio15 karma2013-07-20 04:41:49 UTC
Oh yeah? What high school?
Its rough depending on the school and area. Mt. Vernon, West Potomac, Herndon, and South Lakes are some of the rougher schools to go to. Mainly because they cater to a lot of poorer areas and lets face it, poorer areas see a high amount of violence and bad behavior.
In the area I drive in it is the rich kids. I'm talking pretty much every house is $1 million +. These kids are typically just the typical obnoxious ones.
95% of middle schoolers (7th and 8th grade) and absolute shit heads. Because they think they're cool and haven't been picked on by older kids yet.
dudelikeshismusic6 karma2013-07-20 04:49:20 UTC
Ah your area sounds like the area I grew up in (in Pennsylvania); there's definitely a trade off with all that money.
My dad went to Edison; he implied that the school and its faculty were a bit of a joke when he attended it.
For anyone that isn't familiar with Fairfax County, one of its schools (West Potomac) is a rival of T. C. Williams, the school featured in Remember The Titans.
Sto_Da_Dio6 karma2013-07-20 04:55:09 UTC
My school was a big rival of TC Williams back in the day (Hayfield).
Edison can be rough still but its general pretty good. They just finished a great renovation of the school and it looks much better than it used to. I have many friends who went there and they have nothing negative to say.
Fairfax County dumps a lot of money in the school system and I feel the higher ups do a very good job of allocating that money where it needs to be. However, there are still some very brainless administrators and teachers in almost every school. Middle School is the main gathering point for those individuals.
TheSexyHistorian5 karma2013-07-20 04:31:49 UTC
my bus driver's were so amazing! They made a huge impact on my life, always knowing when I was having a bad day, and being extra nice. Do you feel like kids these days are still as grateful to you guys? Or is everyone completely distracted by their phones to notice?
Sto_Da_Dio13 karma2013-07-20 04:44:42 UTC
I try to interact with my kids as much as possible! I'm very attentive to how each individual kid acts and I can tell when they're acting different that something is up. I'll try to pull them off to the side to ask them if something is bothering them.
Ya know, I don't feel that kids are as distracted with cell phones as many believe. I've found that the more engaging you are with them the less they'll even be on them. Obviously with high schoolers they're glued to them but can you blame them? I was the same way.
With my younger kids I always try to have trivia with them on the internal PA system. Its hilarious hearing some of the answers they come up with.
Ifeelstronglyabout5 karma2013-07-20 21:17:38 UTC
Dude. You're a bus driver for my school county. I'm a student.
Sto_Da_Dio6 karma2013-07-20 21:23:06 UTC
It's if we are as one!
medicalalphabetical4 karma2013-07-20 06:00:55 UTC
Have you ever driven a tank?
Sto_Da_Dio31 karma2013-07-20 06:05:23 UTC
I drive them all the time in Battlefield 3!
Jmannm84003 karma2013-07-20 04:40:28 UTC
What do you do between dropping the kids off at school and picking them back up? (I'm assuming you drive for field trips and what not, but what if there aren't any that day?)
Also, How do you get into the bus from the outside with the door closed and locked? It seems like they would be pretty hard to get into from the outside, based on the way they're opened by the driver.
Sto_Da_Dio9 karma2013-07-20 04:49:53 UTC
As you said, MOST days I will be doing shuttles (taking kids from one school to another for specialty classes) or doing field trips.
On days where there's none of that to do (which is rare) I get errands done. Grocery shopping (non perishable stuff) or I could go see a movie since there's a huge theater close by to my area.
All the drivers have keys that they take home with them! Pop that sucker in the lock on the passenger side and pull the door open. Or, some of the fancier buses have doors that open themselves when you turn the key to "unlock", fancy fucks.
XxShadowWolfxX3 karma2013-07-20 05:48:10 UTC
Sto_Da_Dio12 karma2013-07-20 05:50:42 UTC
I tell my high schoolers they can curse, just be reasonable.
Middle schoolers need to keep it to a minimum.
Elementary schools aren't not allowed to curse under ANY circumstances.
As far as the rape thing, I've heard it thrown around. That was from kids who I know were joking. But I quietly pull them off to the side when they're getting off and tell them I don't wanna hear things like that anymore on my bus.
quinnykid73 karma2013-07-20 02:42:39 UTC
What is the most amazing thing you have seen a child do?
Sto_Da_Dio15 karma2013-07-20 02:47:39 UTC
Amazing is hard to think. Things that were hard to believe?
1 kindergartner said that if you have a J in your name that means you're Jewish.
A 6th grader drew a very elaborate design. Really great artwork but still not allowed. Unfortunately she was having a brain fart and the entire design encompassed her name.
bowling_for_soup_fan1 karma2013-07-20 03:49:19 UTC
What isn't allowed about that?
Sto_Da_Dio3 karma2013-07-20 03:52:56 UTC
Drawing on the seats is vandalism. I remind my children not to do it but every once in a while they still do.
My deal with them is, if I can get it off (I have tricks from being a mechanic) then we don't report it. If I can't get it off, consequences will never be the same.
Flokiyo3 karma2013-07-20 18:34:22 UTC
I think these AMA's about everyday people are far more fascinating than about any celebrity AMA I've read, so thanks!
I had a bus driver that was awesome. I was in high school, and we would get to this stretch of road where it turns and you generally need to slow down to make it, but this driver was crazy, in a hilarious way, and would go as fast as he could without tipping the bus over. I swear, I felt the 2 left tires lift off the ground during this turn, but it seems like I was the only one on the bus that trusted him, and didn't hate him for nearly tipping the bus. In fact, it's been years since I've been on a school bus, and we still talk whenever we see one another. Not to mention I worked with his daughter for a short period. No question there, sorry for the long post.
THE QUESTION: How does one go about getting a job as a bus driver? Seems like easy money as long as the kids are alright, and since I live in a small town, I probably know all their parents, so I can use that as a way to keep all the kids behaved. Thanks!
Sto_Da_Dio3 karma2013-07-20 18:39:03 UTC
Thanks! On the hush hush, I try to give the kids a little thrill every once in a while. To keep things interesting, but nothing dangerous!
It's easy money IMO. In a county as large as mine, getting the job is incredibly easy. Get CDL permit, apply to FCPS, you go to paid training for a couple weeks, take real license test, then you're out on the road!
In smaller areas it may be more difficult as the demand may not be as high and the pay might not be the greatest either. Buts its always a great job if you're in between figuring out what you really wanna do!
Gabiscuit2 karma2013-07-20 15:11:25 UTC
God bless you! Definitely an under appreciated profession. You help kids make the transition from home to school every day both mentally and physically. Good bus rides make for good mornings at school. Thanks for what you do!
Sto_Da_Dio2 karma2013-07-20 15:15:43 UTC
I appreciate it! But to me, the real under appreciated positions in the school system are Bus Attendants (the individuals who help on the small buses) and the janitors. Both positions are paid shitty amounts, like not even enough to honestly get by on in this county. They deserve all the praise in the world!
malatruskawka2 karma2013-07-20 05:21:47 UTC
how/why did you become a bus driver?
Sto_Da_Dio5 karma2013-07-20 05:28:24 UTC
My father was one just over a decade ago, now he works in a different part of the school system. He convinced me to leave my miserable job at Costco to get my foot in the door for the wonderful world that is working for the county government! Bus driving in the easiest way in because they are always hiring and I've come to love it! Plus, I get my commercial driver's license to I can drive just about any vehicle short of an 18-wheeler!
drainsworth2 karma2013-07-20 06:26:58 UTC
Do you do field trips? And have you ever eaten something from a kid's lunch bag?
Sto_Da_Dio3 karma2013-07-20 06:30:15 UTC
I do field trips all the time! Athletic trips are my favorite because, as a former athlete, I love watching sports.
Kids lunches, no. Ew. Too many crucially good places to eat around where I park my bus!
PoisonMind2 karma2013-07-20 15:20:17 UTC
I noticed my bus drivers always waved at each other when they passed by. Is there some sort of bus driver bro code?
Sto_Da_Dio5 karma2013-07-20 15:22:37 UTC
Absolutely! The bus driver wave is an essential skill to master, just like when motorcyclists wave at each other.
derolitus2 karma2013-07-20 17:20:28 UTC
i hope i dont come off as wired but...
i recently had to take a step into a schoolbus (~14 yolds, i d guess) and some of them were clearly touching each other...inappropriately. I notified the driver, of course, but he just shrugged it off "they do that all the time".
is that a national thing or is my community just fucked up?
Sto_Da_Dio2 karma2013-07-20 17:25:42 UTC
Lets be honest, middle schoolers gon middle shool. While it is DEFINITELY normal for kids to do a little feeling up on each other (shit, I know I did it with middle school girls, when I was in middle school) the bus driver definitely shouldn't have shrugged it off.
jhunt202 karma2013-07-20 12:32:46 UTC
What kind of tests do you have to pass to be qualified? Do you have to pass the same kind of driving tests that truck drivers do? Do you have to take any classes on how to deal with kids? Also what's the pay like?
Sto_Da_Dio3 karma2013-07-20 14:34:54 UTC
You have to pass all the same test and standards as any other person with a commercial driver's license. Plus some specific stuff that relates to regulations of a school bus and yes, how to deal with situations that arise with kids as your cargo.
Starting pay in my county is $17.63/hr I believe.
AnnoyinImperialGuard2 karma2013-07-20 16:00:00 UTC
Why are feeling good like a god?
Sto_Da_Dio7 karma2013-07-20 16:56:19 UTC
phonixinuinit2 karma2013-07-20 17:27:30 UTC
see any tits?
Sto_Da_Dio9 karma2013-07-20 17:29:44 UTC
homemade_shants2 karma2013-07-20 11:38:22 UTC
When I was in middle school, I lived in a secluded house on the outskirts of the residential area. I was the only person who got off at a particular stop. Is it annoying to have to go out of your way for one child? Because my driver was always visibly annoyed when I got on the bus, and so were other kids.
Sto_Da_Dio2 karma2013-07-20 14:32:54 UTC
I can see how it might be "annoying" to have to stop at one kid's house just to pick that kid up. Just because you run a high risk of forgetting about that stop.
For my first ever route, every single stop was some kid's driveway so I'm personally used to it! And I feel it allows me to actually interact with that particular student on a better level!
redmaskdit2 karma2013-07-20 12:45:48 UTC
Do you get gifts at holidays? My dad got pancake mix on Christmas lol he was driving for an elementary school in MCPS, MD.
Sto_Da_Dio4 karma2013-07-20 14:36:52 UTC
Hell yes I do! This last year I received cash, gift cards, chocolate, mugs, lots of cool little stuff. The best were the hand made cards that kids made for me.
I wouldn't even be mad if I got pancake mix.
Novh2 karma2013-07-20 12:25:34 UTC
Sto_Da_Dio6 karma2013-07-20 14:33:31 UTC
Surprisingly none! I'm a chill dude, Lebowski-ish.
woensdag3331 karma2013-07-20 10:16:35 UTC
How long did it take you to grow such an awesome beard?
Sto_Da_Dio7 karma2013-07-20 14:28:55 UTC
I've been growing beards on and off since 9th grade. The man genes are strong with me.
This current one is about 3 months I believe?
FatelBlade1 karma2013-07-20 10:47:50 UTC
Well, this is my county, and I'm just curious, which high schools have you bussed for?
Sto_Da_Dio5 karma2013-07-20 14:30:39 UTC
No this is MY county!
Last year I did Langley High School. I've done routes out of Marshall, Fairfax, Herndon, McLean, South Lakes, Madison, and Cedar Lane Center.
bassistciaran1 karma2013-07-20 13:30:35 UTC
Do kids truly hail to the bus driver? or is this the stuff of hollywood lies?
Sto_Da_Dio5 karma2013-07-20 14:40:13 UTC
My kids think I'm awesome. Because I try my hardest to be! Some drivers are despised, Most drivers are so neutral with their kids that the kids don't even know the drivers name.
I like making an impact on my riders.
SinkHoleDeMayo1 karma2013-07-20 04:09:18 UTC
You're on Reddit, so I assume you are decent. But why are bus drivers so often complete assholes? I was in elementary school and hated my bus drivers, so did everyone else.
You don't need to be an asshole when driving small children, you just need to be firm. What gives?
Sto_Da_Dio2 karma2013-07-20 04:15:31 UTC
Great question. There are tons of assholes in this world and this profession tends to have a high ratio of them.
I don't know what the deal is. I try to be as cool with my kids as possible. I'm not old and only a few years removed from high school so I know the drill. Some people pass all the qualifications to become a driver but then can't seem to deal with the social aspect. Lots of the older drivers are complete dicks and its totally unwarranted considering the amount of money they're making for a pretty easy damn job.
I encourage my kids to tell their principle or teacher about a rude bus driver. Hell, I even tell them to let me know if their sub-driver for a day I'm gone is rude to them. My county has a pretty low tolerance for asshole drivers.
Koveryl2 karma2013-07-20 06:53:56 UTC
My bus driver took my Pokemon cards. Meanie.
Sto_Da_Dio1 karma2013-07-20 06:56:05 UTC
Probably to use them on his/her bicycle.
Aweshit1 karma2013-07-20 07:17:50 UTC
One of my friends dad is a bus driver and he smokes a lot of weed. Do you think that's just his way of coping with all the BS children? Do you partake in smoking some herb to calm down your nerves before/after your shift? Just not sure if this is normal or not for school bus drivers. I wish my old driver smoked. We could have chilled. Haha
Sto_Da_Dio2 karma2013-07-20 07:20:36 UTC
I haven't smoked since I was in 10th grade. He's walking on a theoretical tight rope with that shit! Insta-termination after the very random pee tests we're subject to!
I mean, if he's THAT high strung from dealing with kids he needs to retire and find a different job. I'm a natural chill dude. If a day really just sucks I'll go knock some weights out at the gym or something.
Aweshit1 karma2013-07-20 07:29:53 UTC
That's why I had to ask. I thought y'all could get in a lot of trouble for that but I wasn't sure. He's already retired from his normal job and now he drives the bus just so that he can have something to do. Good luck dealing with all of the brats. I feel for you. Haha
Sto_Da_Dio2 karma2013-07-20 07:32:26 UTC
I get that same good luck wish from everyone haha
To be honest, kids really respond well to someone who can spell out the rules and keep them simple rules. Don't slack on enforcement but don't be a dictator and things work fine!
Bahamy1 karma2013-07-20 13:37:15 UTC
As long as I can remember I always had awesome bus drivers, sometimes there was a sub I didn't like, but generally they were always awesome. During Middle and some of High School I had a old guy named Mr. Cherry (I think that's how he spelled it) and we had a water crossing we had to take every day, he'd always speed up going across it so we could see the lovely tsunami the bus made. I'd say my bus drivers were always a good start and end to a day, especially on a bad day, so I'd like to thank you for your service.
Sto_Da_Dio3 karma2013-07-20 14:42:48 UTC
I had this one hill on my elementary route I would speed up for and the kids in the back would jump as we went over it. Highlight of their day everyday.
Thank you! Know that most drivers absolutely love what they're doing!
DontBurdenMe1 karma2013-07-20 14:00:35 UTC
What is one trick that almost always calms kids down, especially the younger ones?
Sto_Da_Dio14 karma2013-07-20 14:52:35 UTC
A 270 pound bearded man with a deep voice standing up to tell them to be quiet seems to work every time.
protomor1 karma2013-07-20 14:18:46 UTC
You live in my area!
Sto_Da_Dio10 karma2013-07-20 14:51:24 UTC
I RUN THIS SHIT
anxhelino12341 karma2013-07-20 14:27:58 UTC
Whats he name of the bully?
Sto_Da_Dio5 karma2013-07-20 14:51:05 UTC
The bully is me.
JakeTheCake7141 karma2013-07-20 04:55:05 UTC
This one time, I was in a bus filled with middle schoolers, when one of them said "...something something sluts." The substitute bus driver got furious, pulled over on the side of the road and demanded to know who said it. She kept us on the street for 30 minutes, while me and my friends were climbing through the windows and jumping off. My question to you is...how easy is it to drive a bus? It's always been a dream of mine to just get into the drivers seat of one of them and just drive.
Sto_Da_Dio3 karma2013-07-20 05:05:47 UTC
It all depends. I'm naturally good with vehicles. I've raced on drag strips and some twisties and used to be a mechanic. So I've handled almost any vehicle prior to becoming a bus driver.
It can be difficult to get a hand of the tail swing and pivot on the flat nose buses. Making those wide turns can be a challenge. But for the most part its easy.
What makes its difficult for most is the amount of different rules and regulations we have to follow. We can't just turn onto any kind of street, there's a max amount of lanes you're allowed to turn across, etc. Lots of rules to follow and memorize.
Koveryl1 karma2013-07-20 07:03:22 UTC
Man, after reading your comments, you seem as cool as my current bus driver. He's awesome. So, I have a few questions. How much do you get paid (If you don't mind answering, of course.)? Did you like your job at first? Are there any kids in specific that you, hm, dislike? If so, why?
Sto_Da_Dio3 karma2013-07-20 07:08:25 UTC
Well thanks! I like to think I'm cool!
I make ~$18/hr.
Going into my first day of having my own route was a very stressful and daunting day. Now, I'm as comfortable as can be about it. I used to stress about being told to drive out to schools I had never been to, but now I know the entire county like the back of my hand!
I wouldn't say there were any kids I disliked, other than middle schoolers. They are in that stage where they don't know humility and think that their obnoxious antics are cool or that disobeying me gains them popularity points. Can't really fault them too much though, we were all in that stage at some point in our lives. But I'm pretty good about keeping them grounded.
IrrationalPillow1 karma2013-07-20 04:45:53 UTC
Nice xD, Maybe I'll have u as a bus driver if you starting doing Herndon high school bus stops since Langley is close by!
Sto_Da_Dio2 karma2013-07-20 04:51:15 UTC
How do you like Herndon? I've heard mixed reviews but I can't imagine its that bad. I've done a few shuttles out of there. I'm stuck doing Cooper Middle School and Spring Hill Elementary for next year.
But be forever on your guard, you never know when or where I'll pop up!
thatstupidgingerkid1 karma2013-07-20 06:37:16 UTC
In 8th grade I took a school trip to Boston and one of the kids fell asleep in the bus while we got out. 5 minutes later the teachers noticed he wasn't there and started freaking out. We finally found him when the bus driver called in to say he had fallen asleep in the bus. The teachers were really pissed at him.
Anyways, have you ever had a situation where a kid was still on the bus after everybody was dropped off? What did you to to solve that problem?
Sto_Da_Dio2 karma2013-07-20 06:41:56 UTC
Every year you hear about kids falling asleep on the bus, it would suck to happen.
Luckily there are systems in place to help prevent this. On old buses in my county there is a white flag with a magnetic strip that is used to signal the bus is empty. The driver is supposed to walk to the back of the bus to hang that so its visible out of the back. On new buses they have a "child check system". Whenever the red/amber lights are used, when the key to the bus is turned off you hear a "beep" that will eventually turn into lights flashing and the horn blaring. To prevent that, you turn the key back to "on" (bus is still off) and you have to walk to the back and the bus and press a button for a second or two that lets the child check system know that you checked the bus.
On top of those two systems, any time you drop the kids off you're supposed to pull off to a safe area and check the bus for items left behind as well as sleeping students.
drainsworth1 karma2013-07-20 06:18:03 UTC
Do you think school buses should have seatbelts?
Sto_Da_Dio3 karma2013-07-20 06:21:52 UTC
Well, technically they do. The first couple of rows typically have built in harness/carseats as well as seat belts.
While I understand the concern of some about buses not having them, there are good reasons why they don't. First, could you imagine how long it would take a bus to do a route if every kid had to be buckled in? Second, in the event of an emergency (such as a roll over or just a fire) it would take a ridiculous amount of time to unbuckle children to get them to safety. Thirdly, the seats on the buses are designed to absorb the forward momentum of a child is the bus was involved in a front end collision or had to come to an (somewhat) immediate stop.
There's actually quite a lot of science behind the decision to not incorporate seat belts onto buses, and a lot of people don't realize that!
smokeyvortex1 karma2013-07-20 08:08:04 UTC
Do you ever sing for the elementary kids or do anything goofy for them ? From what i have read you seem like a really good guy.
Sto_Da_Dio5 karma2013-07-20 14:16:42 UTC
I dress up for Halloween and the elementary schoolers get a kick out of that. The kindergartners usually piss themselves.
I have a terrible singing voice but I know a lot about different artists and stuff so I usually have song quizzes for them when I'm dropping them off in the afternoon!
mwana1 karma2013-07-20 06:33:24 UTC
Have you ever felt like up cutting a kid like... http://youtu.be/AEaCT0W8u5Q
Sto_Da_Dio6 karma2013-07-20 06:34:39 UTC
I avoid driving for schools with rachet gurlz ;) haha
theaeolianmachine1 karma2013-07-20 05:24:37 UTC
You mentioned you've driven in an affluent neighborhood; have you ever had to deal with overzealous parents believing you're at fault for their terrible children? If so, what's the worst situation you've had?
Sto_Da_Dio3 karma2013-07-20 05:30:18 UTC
I've been lucky to not have to deal with that kind of parent yet. I dealt with some nannies who absolutely freak out if I'm late though!
There was a nanny last year who would call the school every day that I was more than 5 minutes late to that stop to drop those kids off. I had to contend with afternoon traffic on one of the busiest roads in Northern Virginia and it was totally unpredictable! She just couldn't fathom that.
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