School Bus Fleet

November 2014

A management & maintenance magazine for school transportation fleets

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Page 47 of 77

46 S C H O O L B U S F L E E T • N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 4 Pre-trip What does a transportation director do when a school bus driver dies? For me, it was a new wrinkle in an old admin- istrator's career. The night before the frst day of school following our winter break (Christmas) in 2013, I was awakened from my slumbers to the news that one of our well-loved and highly respected school bus drivers had died in her sleep, appar- ently from a heart attack. She was only 39 years old. I had not had to deal with such an issue before. It was not covered in my (so-called) transportation supervisor's course of study, and it was rarely even spoken of in the gen- eral conversations of our everyday life. However, like it or not, it was in my "here and now." A big part of the here and now was properly respond- ing to the countless routes of action, especially as it per- tained to my driver's personal family as well as her school bus family. Having no prior experience, my frst reference point was my fellow supervisors and their history with such circumstances. From that source and from my own personal research, I have developed a plan for what to do when a school bus driver dies. In honor and remembrance of my former driv- er, Jennifer Foughty, I humbly offer the following route di- rections to those supervisors who might one day be awak- ened from their slumbers into the "here and now" of life and death. Route 1: Stay calm The transportation leader must at all times stay calm. Take a deep breath, grab a pad of paper, and start your planning and actions. The entire event will seem surreal. It will be dif- fcult to come to terms with the fact that this special driver will not be checking in for his or her route, ever again. What courses of action should a transportation leader follow when a school bus driver dies? Here, a veteran director who recently faced that sad situation shares steps to help staff members, students and the driver's family deal with their loss. BY LIONEL PINN 6 Helpful Routes to Take When a School Bus Driver Dies Family members and friends of school bus driver Jennifer Foughty are pictured here in front of her bus. Foughty died unexpectedly in 2013 at age 39.

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