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Broken Arrow bus driver reflects on role's importance amid shortage

Posted at 3:38 PM, Jun 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-20 18:10:09-04

BROKEN ARROW, Okla. — Many school districts in Oklahoma are in need of support staff, including Broken Arrow Public Schools.

The district will host a transportation job fair on Wednesday where they'll be looking to hire drivers, bus aides and mechanics. We spoke to one BAPS bus driver who says the job is more important than getting students from point A to point B.

“I have the quote board, I have pictures. If the kids color me a picture I hang it up. I have my little 'baby Yoda.' The kids kind of bob him. I think they think it's like good luck or something,” says Amanda Hubbard, school bus driver and activities scheduler at BAPS.

When you step into the bus, you’ll find more than just empty bus seats. There are drawings above the doors, inspirational quotes next to the first aid kit, and a welcoming smile behind the driver’s seat.

“I love getting up and coming to work every day. I don’t have kids of my own, but I tell all of my kids as soon as they get on my bus, they become my kid," Hubbard says.

She became a bus driver after someone at her church encouraged her to apply.

“People ask me, 'What? You could be so much more than a bus driver,' and I'm like… but I'm not just a bus driver. It's really an important job.”

And Broken Arrow school officials say Hubbard is more than a bus driver. She teaches kindness to each of her riders and hopes they learn to spread kindness beyond their bus seats.

“I started 'Paperclips for Kindness,' and I write, things like 'you are awesome, you are beautiful, you are amazing,' and I give the kids, I tell them to keep one for themselves and I tell them they are kind of like secret assassins or secret agents. And I tell them to put them on other kids’ backpacks for books. So other kids can find them.”

Hubbard says she believes over the years, the positive influence has been mutual. She says her students have impacted her, as well.

Anyone interested in being a bus driver, bus aide, or mechanic can come to the job fair Wednesday at the Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. BAPS will provide CDL and bus driver training.

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