As a Cobb County school bus driver with nearly six years of service behind the wheel, I was shocked, devastated, and utterly insulted when board member David Banks, at the Oct. 24 meeting, declared that it isn’t really that hot on a school bus without air conditioning (as every single one of our almost 1,000 regular education route buses are). He also stated that when it is actually hot, the students are too witless and insensitive to notice.
We CCSD bus drivers arm ourselves every day from the end of July to the middle of October with water bottles, ice packs, personal fans, wet towels and any other cooling devices we can get our hands on — and let me tell you, it still feels like a cruise through Death Valley. Some have recorded at least 112 degrees in the shade on thermometers inside their buses.
As for the children we care for on our buses, they usually have nothing but stale warm water brought from home in the morning and left over at the day’s end. Their parents dress them in long sleeves and jeans to weather the polar conditions inside overly air-conditioned schools. By the time our buses are loaded and leave the schools, the faces of our students burn bright-red like embers. They are dripping with sweat and feisty from discomfort.
Buy air-conditioned buses or don’t buy them, Mr. Banks. I love my job anyway. But don’t you dare deny the truth of my personal experience and that of thousands of other drivers and students in the county you supposedly represent. And don’t use my employee email again to solicit your campaign funds, either.