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SNN: West Michigan school bus driving teacher retires

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School News Network

Michigan State Police retiree Burr Smith has a second career training school bus drivers. On a hot August morning, he stepped to the front of a big yellow bus and placed a cone to demonstrate how far beyond the hood the driver should be able to see. Cones surrounded the vehicle marking a safety zone as a group of brand new recruits took turns sitting behind the wheel.

In order to qualify to drive it, they have to take Smith’s 18 hour safety and instruction course and pass an 100 question exam. Topics covered include sight lines and safety zones, methods for safely assisting students on and off the bus, and setting up flares in case of a break down.

The training took place in a parking lot at Kent ISD as the new school year began. Smith has been instructing new drivers at this site and across Michigan for 47 years. Chances are, if you ride a school bus, he trained its driver.

Job openings for bus drivers are plentiful for schools in Kent County and beyond. You can find a list of area opportunities on the job section of kentisd.org.