Beyond the Wheels
Celebrating the Dedication of MUSD’s Bus Operators
In Manteca Unified, there is a group of individuals who have the privilege of being the first face children see at the start of their school day: bus drivers!
October is School Bus Safety Month and serves as a reminder of the importance of Manteca Unified’s dedicated bus operators, who play a big role in students’ lives. Their commitment to safety, demonstrated through preparedness, training, and acts of kindness, ensures that students not only reach their destinations safely but also feel cared for and valued throughout their journey.
To help keep students safe, bus drivers conduct routine morning inspections before leaving the bus yard to confirm the vehicle is prepared to transport students. During these inspections, bus drivers check their lights, tighten lug nuts, check mechanical fluids, and test their brakes. Once they begin their route, they make sure each student is accounted for and that students understand the importance of safety while on the bus.
On October 4th, students at Nile Garden Elementary participated in another important preparedness measure: evacuation training! During these annual training courses, the bus driver empowers students with the information needed to respond calmly and confidently in case of an emergency. Required by law, bus evacuation trainings not only enhance safety protocols but also create a sense of assurance among students, knowing that their bus driver is prepared to handle any situation that may arise.
Beyond their duty of driving and providing a safe environment, MUSD bus drivers often go above and beyond to create a nurturing and supportive environment for students. This dedication was shown by one outstanding driver, Tony Berry, who recently drove East Union’s Freshman/Sophomore volleyball team to an away game.
Mr. Berry not only ensured the team arrived safely at the event, but he also attended the game, cheering on the team from the sidelines while shoulder to shoulder with parents. “This is what I do. I was just having fun!” Mr. Berry stated. His thoughtful gesture extended to distributing water bottles and making sure the players felt supported by their fanbase.
One player told Mr. Berry, jokingly, “I’m going to hire you as our mascot. I’m going to pay you out of my own money.”
The team won their game that day.
The parents of the team were deeply appreciative of Mr. Berry’s efforts, with one parent emailing the Transportation Department, stating, “Great job Tony! You’re an amazing driver and person.”
Mr. Berry’s act of kindness represents the exceptional commitment of MUSD bus drivers, the first and last face students see during their school day, a responsibility drivers hold with pride.
“From the time that they get on the bus to the time they get home, I make sure they are greeted. Last year, I had a group of kids that, when we got to the school, wanted me to play ‘Wheels on the Bus.’ I play harmonica, and so I started playing, and the kids started singing. We were so loud, like a football team! And when they got off the bus, they were fired up and ready for school,” shares Mr. Berry. “I find joy in helping them be prepared for their day.”
- East Union